Prepare for a Safe Return to School this Fall

11 Back to School Safety Tips

By Sara Yaniga August 2, 2023

As the summer break comes to an end, it's that time of the year again when our little ones head back to school. While the excitement of reuniting with friends and embarking on new learning adventures fills the air, it's essential for us, as parents, to prioritize our children's safety during this back-to-school season. Whether they are walking, cycling, busing or taking public transportation to school, here are some valuable safety tips to ensure a safe and happy start to the new school year.

1. Review Road Safety Basics: Before the first day of school, take some time to review road safety basics with your child. Remind them always to use pedestrian crossings when crossing roads, look both ways before stepping onto the street, and avoid using electronic devices while walking to stay aware of their surroundings.

2. Designate a Safe Walking Route: If your child walks to school, help them plan a safe and well-lit walking route. Avoid secluded areas or streets with heavy traffic and teach them to stick to well-traveled paths. If possible, find a walking buddy or encourage them to walk in groups for added safety.

3. Bicycle Safety Rules: For children who ride their bikes to school, ensure they always wear a properly fitted helmet and follow traffic rules. Teach them to use hand signals when turning, ride in a single file, and walk their bikes across busy intersections.

4. School Bus Safety: If your child takes the school bus, reinforce the importance of waiting for the bus in a safe spot away from the road. Remind them to stay seated while the bus is in motion, listen to the driver's instructions, and never stick any body parts out of the window.

5. Public Transportation Safety: For older children who may be taking the CTA "L" or bus to get to school make sure they know their route by practicing before school starts and remind them to be aware of their surroundings when waiting and while riding. Try to connect with other kids who will be taking the same route so they have a group traveling together. Many routes that serve schools tend to have a lot of school-aged kids riding, so that shouldn't be too hard.

6. Stranger Danger Awareness: Discuss stranger danger with your child, emphasizing the importance of never talking to or accepting anything from strangers. Establish a clear plan for what to do if they feel unsafe or encounter a stranger.

7. Backpack Safety: Help your child pack their backpack appropriately, distributing the weight evenly across both shoulders. Ensure the backpack is not too heavy, as carrying an overloaded bag can strain their back and shoulders.

8. Health Precautions: With ongoing health concerns, reinforce good hygiene habits, such as regular hand-washing. Encourage your child to avoid sharing food and personal items.

9. Emergency Contact Information: Update your child's emergency contact information with the school, ensuring they have up-to-date contact details in case of unforeseen circumstances. Make sure your children know who is the emergency contact and who might pick them up from school in your absence, or who an older child can call if needed.

10. Encourage Open Communication: Create an environment where your child feels comfortable sharing their experiences and concerns. Encourage them to talk openly about their school day, any worries they might have, or if they encounter any safety issues.

11. Regular Safety Drills: Practice safety drills at home, such as fire drills and emergency evacuation plans, so your child knows what to do in case of emergencies at school or home. For younger and/or anxious children, prepare them so they know that they will be taught safety drills at school too.

By following these back-to-school safety tips, we can help ensure our children have a safe and enjoyable start to the new academic year. Let's empower them with knowledge, awareness, and the confidence to make responsible choices, both on their journey to school and during their time at school. As parents, our dedication to their safety lays a strong foundation for their success and well-being throughout the school year ahead. Wishing all our learners a happy and secure back-to-school experience!

Looking for more Back to School Content? Check these previous articles out:

What Your Younger Kids Need to Know as School Starts

4 Tips to Foster Excitement for the School Year

Back-to-School Tips for Students Who Need Extra Support

Conquer Test-Taking Anxiety: 7 Books for Kids that Ease the Pressure

7 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Middle School

7 Things You Can Do at Home to Make the First Day of School Easier