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Back to School Safety: Checklist for Parents

Personal Information Children should know:

Be sure your child knows his or her home phone number (including area code) and address, your work number, the number of another trusted adult, and how to use 911 for emergencies.  Make sure your child has enough change to make a phone call or have them carry a cell phone or a telephone calling card.

Walking and Biking to School:

Plan a walking route to school or the bus stop.  Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and use intersections with crossing guards.  Test the route with your child.  Tell him or her to stay away from parks, vacant lots, fields, and other places where there aren't many people around.

Teach children - whether walking, biking, or riding the bus to school - to obey all traffic signals, signs, traffic officers, and safety patrols.  Remind them to be extra careful in rainy, foggy, or snowy weather.

Make sure they walk to and from school with others (friend, neighbor, brother, sister).

Teach your child never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers.  Remember, a stranger is anyone you or your children do not know well or do not trust.  Wear reflective material - it makes you more visible to street traffic.

Riding in Cars:

When car-pooling, drop off and pick up children as close to school as possible.  Don't leave until they have entered the schoolyard or building.

Buckle up properly:  Older children in seatbelts, younger kids in seatbelts, little kids in car seats.

Riding the Bus:

School bus transportation is safe.  In fact, buses are safer than cars!  More often than not, deaths and injuries don't occur in a crash, but as pupils are entering and exiting the bus.  Remember these safety tips:

  • Have a safe place to wait for your bus, away from traffic and the street.

  • Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals you to enter.

  • When being dropped off, exit the bus and walk ten giant steps away from the bus.  Keep a safe distance between you and the bus.  Also, remember that the bus driver can see you best when you are back away from the bus.

  • Use the handrail to enter and exit the bus.

  • Stay away from the bus until the driver gives the signal that it's okay to approach.

  • Be aware of the street traffic around you.  Drivers are required to follow certain rules of the road concerning school buses, however, not all do.  Protect yourself and watch out!

If your child is home alone for a few hours after school:

Set up rules for locking doors and windows, answering the door or telephone.  Make sure he or she checks in with you or a neighbor immediately after school.  Agree on rules for inviting friends over and for going to a friend's house when no adult is home.

Take time to listen carefully to children's fears and feelings about people or places that scare them or make them feel uneasy.  Tell them to trust their instincts.  Take complaints about bullies and other concerns seriously.


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