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. Here are a few ways to make safety a part of your back-to-school plan. 


  • 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, lead by example by wearing 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 who walk to school to stop, look (left, right, and left again), and listen before crossing the street or 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 so many distractions, it’s dangerous to assume that just because we see a car, the driver sees us. Tell walkers and bikers to take an extra step to protect themselves by making 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. Remind kids and teens that trains may be closer and faster than they think so it’s never okay to rush across and try to beat the train. Also, it’s important to avoid the temptation to walk on or 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.
  • Practice safety at the bus stop. At the bus stop, teach kids to keep three giant steps away from the arriving bus until it comes to a complete stop. If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, teach them to take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver, and cross when the driver indicates it’s safe. Here is some more information at School Bus Safety.
  • Buckle up the right way on every ride. Keep every child in your car safe by ensuring that they are in the right car seat or booster seat for them. For more information about all things car seats, check out our Ultimate Car Seat Guide, available in English and Spanish.  
  • Pay extra attention when driving. The school year is an important time for drivers to slow down and pay attention when kids are present. Look out for buses, pedestrians, and cyclists when driving, especially before and after school. And remind your teen drivers to avoid distractions and pay extra attention as well.   


  • Keep medicine, cleaning products, and small objects like button batteries up and away, out of reach and sight. And take a moment to save the Poison Help number in your phone and post it visibly at home: 1-800-222-1222.
  • Cook safely. Older kids may be helping with meals or making their own after school. Remind them to stay in the kitchen the entire time they’re cooking and to use oven mitts or potholders to carry hot pots and pans. If they’re using the microwave, teach them that dishes that have been in the microwave can be hot too, and show them how to slowly open microwaved containers. The steam from hot foods can burn fingers and faces.

Please review these tips with your kids 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, please check out our Parent’s Guide to Child Safety