As the summer starts to wind down, you may find yourself replacing your kids’ camping gear with new clothes, notebooks, pens, and other necessary school supplies.
But before your children head off for their first day of the new school year, spend some time teaching them some valuable things – namely, how to stay safe in school, as well as when traveling between school and home.
Use these tips to ensure a safe start to the new school year:
Drive Carefully During School Hours. If your teen just got his or her license in the past few months, they are probably ecstatic to finally be driving themselves to school. The freedom! The power!
But while they might love it, and them driving themselves may be more convenient for you as a parent, this also poses extra risks for your children (not to mention the car you bought them!). Warn your teen about the dangers of distracted driving. After all, they won’t be the only teenager testing out their driving skills around school.
School zones also have lower speed limits. Not paying attention to these limits and the hours that they are in effect may get your teen a ticket – or worse. Remind your kids every morning to buckle up, slow down, and keep an eye out for pedestrians and additional traffic rules in effect around their school.
Wear a Seat Belt. This isn’t the same school bus we rode as children. Now, school buses in Florida have seat belts and require passengers to wear them. It may not be the coolest thing to do, but it’s a smart idea to wear a seat belt (and remind your child to do so!)
Keep Distractions Down. Kids can easily get rowdy after a long day at school. But yelling, jumping from seat to seat, or throwing things across the aisle can become a big distraction to drivers. Tell your children that staying well behaved on the bus is not only the polite thing to do, it just might save their life.
Look Both Ways. It’s not just an important rule for pedestrians, but bus riders as well. Why? Because not all bus stops are in front of our houses. To reach their bus stop, your child might have to cross busy streets and may not be seen when they are first getting off the bus. Even the simple reminder to look both ways may prevent serious injuries or accidents.
Keep Your Head Out of Your Phone. It was nice watching your kids get out of the house and run around this summer, even if they were going out to catch Pokemon. But playing Pokemon Go isn’t just dangerous for drivers. Having their head in their phone while walking to school can be dangerous, especially if this a new route. Remind your kids to stay alert and out of their phones on the walk to school to avoid getting hit by cars.
Remember the Buddy System. Does your child have a neighbor or a friend who lives nearby? Encourage your child to walk with them on the way to school. If your child is injured or encounters a stranger on the way to school, a walking buddy will be able to help and keep your child safer.
Watch Your Child’s (Backpack) Weight. We know it’s important that your child has everything they need for school, but stuffing it all into their backpack is more than just uncomfortable – it can cause health issues and injuries. A heavy backpack can result in muscle strains, spasms, back pain, and more.
Have a First Aid Kit Packed Away. Another item on the back-to-school list? Trust us, this one is worth it. While your child is playing at recess or on the bus, they might get a cut or a scrape and not have time to immediately go to a nurse. Keep at least a tube of antibacterial gel and some bandages in your child’s backpack to clean out any cuts or scrapes as soon as they happen. This will help to prevent infection… and keep your kid playing!
Know the Signs of a Concussion. If your child plays sports or likes to run around on the playground, bumps and falls are common. But if they fall on their head, they run the risk of suffering from a concussion. Concussions are not always obvious and don’t always have external bumps and bruises as symptoms. Keep an eye out for the following after any blow to the head, and consider contacting a doctor:
- Glassy eyes
- Slurred or slowed speech
Also, don’t just assume that your child will be safe once they reach school. Injuries can and do happen there, and both the school and the staff have a responsibility to create a safe environment for your children to learn and play.
If your child was hurt due to the negligence of staff or dangerous hazards on school property, you may be able to file a claim against them to win necessary compensation.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2014-2016 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.