Both old and new students alike need to stay safe at before,
during, and after school. Below are tips to do just that
courtesy of the
American Academy of
TRAVELING TO AND FROM SCHOOL
School Bus -
- If your child’s school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts,
make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus. If
your child’s school bus does not have lap/shoulder belts,
encourage the school to buy or lease buses with lap/shoulder
- Wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the
- Do not move around on the bus.
- Check to see that no other traffic is coming before
- Make sure to always remain in clear view of the bus
- All passengers should wear a seat belt and/or an age- and
size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat.
- Your child should ride in a car safety seat with a harness as
long as possible and then ride in a belt-positioning booster
seat. Your child is ready for a booster seat when she has reached
the top weight or height allowed for her seat, her shoulders are
above the top harness slots, or her ears have reached the top of
- Your child should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat
until the vehicle's seat belt fits properly (usually when the
child reaches about 4' 9" in height and is between 8 to 12 years
of age). This means the shoulder belt lies across the middle of
the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat; the lap belt is
low and snug across the thighs, not the stomach; and the child is
tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her legs
bent at the knees and feet hanging down.
- All children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear
seat of vehicles. If you must drive more children than can fit in
the rear seat (when carpooling, for example), move the front-seat
passenger’s seat as far back as possible and have the child
ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do not fit properly
- Remember that many crashes occur while novice teen drivers
are going to and from school. You should limit the number of teen
passengers to prevent driver distraction; this is even required
by law in many states. Do not allow your teen to drive while
eating, drinking, or talking on a cell phone.
- Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the
- Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto
- Use appropriate hand signals.
- Respect traffic lights and stop signs.
- Wear bright color clothing to increase visibility.
- Know the "rules of the road."
Walking to School -
- Make sure your child's walk to a school is a safe route with
well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection.
- Be realistic about your child's pedestrian skills. Because
small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic,
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
EATING DURING THE SCHOOL DAY
- Most schools regularly send schedules of cafeteria menus
home. With this advance information, you can plan on packing
lunch on the days when the main course is one your child prefers
not to eat.
- Try to get your child's school to stock healthy choices such
as fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products, water and 100 percent
fruit juice in the vending machines.
- Each 12-ounce soft drink contains approximately 10 teaspoons
of sugar and 150 calories. Drinking just one can of soda a day
increases a child's risk of obesity by 60%. Restrict your child's
soft drink consumption.
When Your Child Is Bullied -
- Help your child learn how to respond by teaching your child
Look the bully in the eye.
Stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation.
- Teach your child how to say in a firm voice.
"I don't like what you are doing."
"Please do NOT talk to me like that."
"Why would you say that?"
- Teach your child when and how to ask for help.
- Encourage your child to make friends with other
- Support activities that interest your child.
- Alert school officials to the problems and work with them on
- Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying can watch out
for your child's safety and well-being when you cannot be
When Your Child Is the Bully -
- Be sure your child knows that bullying is never OK.
- Set firm and consistent limits on your child's aggressive
- Be a positive role mode. Show children they can get what they
want without teasing, threatening or hurting someone.
- Use effective, non-physical discipline, such as loss of
- Develop practical solutions with the school principal,
teachers, counselors, and parents of the children your child has
When Your Child Is a Bystander -
- Tell your child not to cheer on or even quietly watch
- Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult about the
- Help your child support other children who may be bullied.
Encourage your child to include these children in
- Encourage your child to join with others in telling bullies
- Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a
- Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its
compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the
back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent
of the student's body weight.
- Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one
shoulder can strain muscles.
- Consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a
good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember
that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, and they
may be difficult to roll in snow.
MAKING THE FIRST DAY EASIER
- Remind your child that she is not the only student who is a
bit uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that
students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure
everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
- Point out the positive aspects of starting school: It will be
fun. She'll see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh her memory
about previous years, when she may have returned home after the
first day with high spirits because she had a good time.
- Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your
youngster can walk to school or ride with on the bus.
- If you feel it is appropriate, drive your child (or walk with
her) to school and pick her up on the first day.
DEVELOPING GOOD HOMEWORK AND STUDY HABITS
- Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework.
Youngsters need a permanent work space in their bedroom or
another part of the home that offers privacy.
- Set aside ample time for homework.
- Establish a household rule that the TV set stays off during
- Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but
never do a child's homework for her.
- Take steps to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and
brain fatigue while studying. It may be helpful to close the
books for a few minutes, stretch, and take a break periodically
when it will not be too disruptive.
- If your child is struggling with a particular subject, and
you aren't able to help her yourself, a tutor can be a good
solution. Talk it over with your child's teacher first.