How to Make Safety a Part of Your Back-to-School Plans

The beginning of the school year can be overwhelming and exciting at the same time, both for kids and parents. As we all continue to keep ourselves as safe as possible during the pandemic, let’s not forget to remain vigilant in our efforts to stay safe while heading to and from school. Here are a few ways to make safety a part of your back-to-school plan. 

Walking or Riding Outside

Whether your children are walking or biking to school or just going outside to stretch and play, talk to them about these safety tips:   

  • Wear a helmet: When biking, skateboarding, riding a scooter, or in-line skating, remind your kids to wear a properly-fitted helmet that is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you’re riding with your kids, be a good role model and wear a helmet as well. Your kids are watching and learning from you as you’ll see in this video.  
  • Look left, right, and left again: Teach kids to stop, look (left, right, and left again) and listen before crossing the street and at railroad crossings. They may need to hear and practice this a few times before it becomes a habit. This music video created by students from Patterson Park Public Charter School in Baltimore can help get the message across.
  • Make eye contact with drivers. With all of today’s distractions, we can’t assume that just because we see a car, the driver sees us. Walkers and bikers can protect themselves by taking the extra step to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Find more information at Pedestrian Safety.
  • Only cross train tracks at a designated crossing marked by a sign, lights or a gate. Trains may be closer and faster than you think so it’s never okay to rush across and try to beat the train. Also, avoid the temptation to walk along the train tracks. It might be a shortcut, but it is dangerous and not worth the risk as you’ll see in this video.
  • Teach bus safety. If your child is going to take the bus to school, teach kids to keep three giant steps away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop. Here is some more information at School Bus Safety.
  • Pay extra attention when driving. It's never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present. Look out for buses, pedestrians, and cyclists when driving, especially before and after school. 

Please review these tips with your student before the first day of school and share with friends, classmates, and neighbors. For more tips about how to stay safe on the road, at home, and at play, you can also check out our Parent’s Guide to Child Safety