Parents — take a few minutes to sit down with your child and go over this checklist to prepare him or her for a safe school year.
Be sure your child knows his/her phone number and address, has your work number and the number of another trusted adult and knows how to use 911 for emergencies.
Plan a walking route to school or the bus stop. Choose the most direct route with the fewest street crossings and use intersections with crossing guards. Test the route with your child. Tell him/her to stay away from parks, vacant lots, fields and other places where there are not many people.
Teach children — whether biking, walking or riding the bus to school — to obey all traffic signals, signs, traffic officers and safety patrols. Remind them to be extra careful in bad weather.
When carpooling, drop off and pick up children as close to school as possible. Do not leave until they have entered the school yard or building.
If your child’s school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure he/she know how they work and to wear them at all times when on the bus.
Remind your child to always wait for the bus to stop moving before stepping off the curb to get on. Once on the bus, your child should take a seat right away. Do not move around on the bus.
If your child will be biking to school, remind him/her to always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride. He/she should ride on the right side of the road, going the same direction as the traffic and should use appropriate hand signals when making turns.
Be realistic about your child’s ability to walk to school without an adult. Because small children don’t have a lot of experience around traffic, they may take risks that could put them in harm’s way. Carefully consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision. Bright-colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.
If your child is home alone for a few hours after school: Set up rules for locking doors and windows and answering the door.
Make sure he/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.