Written by Kids In DangerIt’s that time of the year again, when we send our children off to school for another year of learning, socializing, and a great deal of fun. In tandem with the CPSC’s “Safety is the New Cool” message, we want to highlight some back to school safety tips.
Getting to School Safely
Back to school season is the perfect time for children to increase their independence and practice new and important life skills. Perhaps this is their first year taking the bus to school, or carpooling with friends. However, as children navigate this newfound independence, it is important that they do so safely. We will explore some tips for ensuring kids arrive safely at school each morning. Safe Kids’ interactive page on getting to school safely provides a wonderful resource for more information about each of the topics mentioned here.
If your children ride the bus to school, remind them to take 3 large steps back from the road while waiting and always stay out of the way of oncoming traffic at the bus stop. For children who travel to school by car the priority should be on proper seatbelt usage – they need to buckle up each and every time they get into a vehicle. However, many school-age children require a car seat as well – take a look at this comprehensive guide on car seat safety for information tailored to your childrens’ age, height, and weight.
Children might also find themselves navigating crosswalks and intersections at busy times during drop-off and pick-up. Although crossing guards might provide an added layer of safety, make sure your children are well-practiced in looking both ways before crossing the street, and staying alert until they reach the other side. With the advent of smartphones and other eye-catching technology, it’s easy for children (and adults too, undoubtedly) to become distracted by devices or block ambient sounds with headphones while walking. This behavior poses a hazard not only to the children themselves, but also to their fellow pedestrians. Make sure your children are aware of when it is safe to use their devices or headphones.
There’s no time like back-to-school shopping to usher in a beautiful new wardrobe! Watch out for drawstrings in hoodies and other cold weather clothes, though, as they have been known to pose a strangulation hazard if accidentally caught on something. In fact, there were four recalls in the last year alone, including one of this Maeli Rose hoodie for the strangulation hazard.
With biking, skating, or riding a scooter, the same rule applies: helmets on. Helmets should be fitted to provide maximum protection. Additionally, helmets should be replaced immediately following any crash involving a hit to the head, as the foam interior can become damaged, and no longer provides effective protection.
Playgrounds are definitely a child’s favorite place during the school year—so make sure the place where your child goes to have fun meets safety standards. There should be 9-12 inches of impact-absorbing material, such as mulch or rubber mats, on the play area, and adults should not let children play on surfaces that are burning to the touch.
Attractive new gadgets they may be, but hoverboards pose significant hazards: over 500,000 have been officially recalled from 10 different retailers and manufacturers due to fire hazards.
As children once again embark on another school year, it is important to keep updated on what products and practices could unintentionally harm them. Visit cpsc.gov and KID’s Recall Digest for the latest recalls to keep your children safe.