Walkers should always use sidewalks and crosswalks. If there isn’t a sidewalk or it is still be constructed, be sure to walk facing traffic. Look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Practice walking a few times with young children until they have mastered walking safely to school.
Bikers must always wear a safety helmet that is properly fitted and secured. Teach them the rules of the road including riding in a single file line on the right side of the road and, unlike walkers, in the same direction of traffic. Before crossing the street, come to a complete stop and walk the bike across the street.
Bus-bound children should be accompanied to the bus-stop on the first day and taught the proper way to get on and off of the bus. First, make sure that they stand at least six feet or three giant steps away from the curb. If your child needs to cross the street in front of the bus, make sure that they walk along side of the road until they are at least ten feet in front of the bus so that the driver can see them.
Backpack injuries can be prevented when they weigh less than 10-20% of your child’s bodyweight and are ergonomically designed. Remind children to always wear both straps so that the backpack’s weight is evenly distributed. Many backpacks feature reflective fabric so that drivers can see your children when it is still dark outside on early Southeast Michigan mornings.
Playground safety is most important for young children. Encourage your children to choose playgrounds with soft surfaces instead of concrete ones as kids can easily be injured on hard surfaces. Explain that they should ask for help when using play equipment for the first time, or playscapes constructed for older children. For example, if your child wants to try the next tallest monkey bars, encourage her to ask for a spotter or teacher to help her the first time.
Stranger danger is always important to review. While not all strangers are dangerous, it is important to teach your children the “No, Go, Yell, Tell” method. If in a dangerous situations, kids should say no, run away, yell at the top of their lungs and tell a trusted adult such as a neighbor or teacher what happened right away. Review the scenarios of strangers to avoid described by the National Crime Prevention Council.
Article by: Jennifer Elkow
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