By now, most schools across the nation are back in session. There are children putting on backpacks and walking, biking, and taking the bus to and from school. The National Safety Council and Nationwide Children’s Center for Injury Research and Policy have advice for children, parents, and drivers to prevent injuries.
In order to prevent poor posture and back and shoulder pain, if your child carries a backpack, try to limit the weight of the backpack to no more than 10% of the child’s body weight.
If you cannot walk with your child, encourage him or her to walk with other students, and to use streets with sidewalks, traffic lights, and crossing guards. If your child carries a cell phone tell them “heads up, phone down” to remind them to pay attention to their surroundings.
For children riding bicycles, make sure your child is wearing a helmet that fist correctly. You can see how to fit a helmet properly here: “NHTSA Fitting a Bicycle Helmet.” Teach your child to follow the same rules as people driving cars, to ride single-file in the direction of traffic, and to watch for opening car doors and other hazards. In order to be visible, make sure their bicycle has reflectors on the rear, front, pedals and spokes. Also recommended are a headlight, rear-view mirror, and a horn or bell. Kids on bikes should wear bright clothing during the day, and reflective clothing in the evening.
For children who ride the school or city bus, have them get to the bus stop early to avoid running. Teach children to wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before walking up to the bus. If the child has to cross the street, have them walk at least 10 feet ahead of the bus until he or she can see the driver.
Put your phone down. No text or phone call is more important than safety. When stopped at a red light or waiting to turn, don’t block the crosswalk because it forces pedestrians to walk around you — possibly causing them to walk in traffic. Be extra careful in school zones, near playgrounds, and in residential areas, and watch out for vehicles stopped for pedestrians.
–Janell Mayo Duncan
 “Back to School Safety,” National Safety Council (viewed 9/14/2015)
 “Back to School Safety” Nationwide Children’s Center for Injury Policy (viewed 9/14/2015)
 “Live to Ride Another Day” National Safety Council (viewed 9/14/2015)
 “School Buses are Students’ Safest Mode of Transportation” National Safety Council (viewed 9/14/2015)
 “Slow Down: Back to School Means Sharing the Road” National Safety Council (viewed 9/14/2015)
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