Thursday, July 15, 2010

Back to School Safety Tips for Children

Back to School Safety Tips
Cheryl Grace

Whether kids are dreading going back to school or they can’t wait to reconnect with teachers and friends after a fun-filled summer vacation, a child’s safety is always a concern for parents. Potential accidents can be prevented by establishing the habit of basic security from the time kids leave the house until the time that they are home for the evening. Depending on the age of the children, they can manage daily tasks related to their safety and security.

Potential hazards can be prevented if parents and students are on the lookout. Begin by planning a safe route to and from school, regardless if the child is walking, biking, riding a school bus, or traveling by car with friends or family. Look for unfamiliar cars or strangers in the neighborhood. They just may be sizing up potential targets. Use your instinct and report any suspicious behavior to the police department with a complete description of the vehicle or individual that concerns you.

Choose a route to school that is the most direct and away from parks, vacant lots, fields and locations that are void of people. Whether a child is walking or riding the bus, it’s a good plan to have a travel buddy along that knows important information about the other. Be aware of putting a child’s name on anything that is readily visible to discourage a would-be abductor or burglar from addressing a child by their first name. It’s important to let children know that strangers might use various ploys to gain their trust—anything from asking for directions to helping find their lost dog. Having a child armed with a cell phone to dial 911 in case of any emergency and equipped with locations along the way that are safe to run to are just the beginning to establishing concrete security measures. Having another adult that the child is accustomed be readily available to be reached in case of an emergency adds a indispensable precaution.

If driving to school, drop a child in a safe location and wait until they are well into the schoolyard or a building before leaving the area. Bicycles, skateboards or in-line skates used for transportation should be accompanied as warranted with wearing sturdy shoes, kneepads, elbow pads and a helmet that meet maximum safety standards. According to Reader’s Digest, research indicates that a helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by up to 85 percent.

According to Dr. Arthur Valadie, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist of Coastal Orthopedics, requiring a student backpack be based on safety rather than only style and color is a simple way to avoid injury to a child’s back muscles and joints. Dr. Valadie recommends using both shoulder straps and tightening the straps so that the backpack is close to the body. This will help distribute the weight, rather than having one strap slung over the shoulder. A backpack should not weigh more than 15% of the child’s weight, and packing heavier items towards the center and utilizing all compartments will help deter back, neck, and shoulder pain as will as posture problems.

Bullying is happening more and more on school buses, at school, on the playground and in the neighborhood. Bullying can be defined as physical, verbal, or social harassment. Teaching a child simple steps to help stop another child from picking on them includes;
• staying calm in a difficult confrontation
• speaking in a firm voice requesting the bully not to speak to them in that manner,
• being willing to alert school officials to the problems to be able to work out an amiable solution.
Making sure an adult knows about the bullying can help watch out for the child’s safety and well-being when the parent is absent.

If your child is the bully, be sure to communicate that bullying is never ok, and set firm and consistent limits on the child’s aggressive behavior. Being a positive role model shows children that they can get what they want without teasing, threatening or hurting someone. Use effective, non-physical discipline, such as loss of privileges. Work with school officials, teachers and counselors, and the parents of the children bullied to find practical and peaceful solutions. If a child witnesses another child being bullied, encourage the child to tell a trusted adult about the bullying and avoid cheering on or even watching passively.

After school, younger children need supervision until a parent returns home from work or from other obligations or commitments. Older children coming home to an empty house can still be supervised from a distance or be checked on by a neighbor. Developing good homework and study habits before allowing extra-curricular activities, playing video games, internet use or watching TV will help to motivate students to excel in school and still have plenty of time for fun.

American Academy of Pediatrics
Baltimore Police Department
Federal Citizen Information Center
Dr. Arthur Valadie, MD Coastal Orthopedic

Cheryl Grace is a professional Feng Shui expert, nationally certified interior refiner, and winner of the 2008-09-10 Natural Choice Award for Favorite Feng Shui Practitioner. For a consultation for your home or business or to contact Cheryl, e-mail or call 941-400-3816. Visit to shop for contemporary Feng Shui decor and enhancements, or to find a list of Feng Shui seminars taught by Cheryl. For daily Feng Shui tips, follow Cheryl on Twitter and her Blog at ;;

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