As the new school year approaches, it's entirely natural for parents to feel a heightened sense of concern about the safety of their children. In this ever-evolving world, equipping our kids with the proper precautions and attitudes toward safety can seem like a daunting task.
At Carlson & Dumeer, LLC, we see our role as not only being a trusted legal resource for you and your family but also contributing to the safety of our community. That is why we’ve put together this list of five back-to-school safety tips that can help ensure your child stays safe while learning:
#1. Teach Your Child Road Safety
Knowing how to navigate the roads safely is a vital skill that children should learn from a young age. This becomes particularly important when they have to cross streets on their way to and from school.
Here are some essential points to teach your child:
- Always use crosswalks or pedestrian bridges to cross streets.
- Never run across the road. Instead, walk quickly and cautiously.
- Look left, right, and then left again before stepping onto the road.
- Understand and obey traffic signals and signs.
- If walking in a group, ensure everyone crosses the road together. Do not encourage or engage in daredevil acts like racing across the road.
In addition to teaching your child these rules, accompany them on their route to school several times to ensure they understand the practical application of what they have learned. Make sure they are comfortable and confident in crossing roads before allowing them to make the journey alone or with friends.
Lastly, remind your child that these rules apply to the school commute and anytime they are around roads. This consistent reinforcement of road safety will help them internalize these habits and stay safe during and outside school hours.
#2. Practice Proper Helmet Safety
Helmets are a crucial safety measure for children who bike or skateboard to school. It's not only about wearing a helmet but also about making sure they are worn correctly. Helmets drastically reduce the risk of head injuries, which can be notably severe, particularly for children.
Here are some guidelines to ensure helmet safety:
- The helmet should fit snugly on the head and not rock side to side.
- The straps should form a "V" under the ears, and the chin strap should be buckled tight enough to allow only two fingers between the strap and the chin.
- The helmet should be positioned on the head so it's level and covers the forehead, not tipped back or tilted.
- Always replace the helmet after a crash or fall that impacts the helmet.
- Regularly inspect the helmet for any damage, and replace it if there are any signs of wear, tear, or damage.
Involving children in selecting their helmets can also make them more likely to wear them. Allow them to choose one in their favorite color or with a design they like. This way, the helmet is not just a safety tool but also a personal accessory they can be proud of. It's also important to lead by example. When parents wear helmets, children understand their importance and are more inclined to wear them too.
#3. Avoid Backpack Injuries
Backpack injuries are more common than most people think and can lead to long-term back problems if not addressed early. The improper use or overloading of backpacks can cause strain on the back, neck, and shoulders, resulting in poor posture. With children carrying textbooks, stationery, laptops, and much more in their bags, it's essential to teach them the right way to pack and carry a backpack.
Here are some tips to help prevent backpack injuries:
- The backpack should weigh at most 10% to 15% of the child's body weight. Encourage your child to carry only necessary items and make use of lockers or desks at school to lighten the load.
- Choose a backpack with padded shoulder straps and a padded back. The padding distributes the weight more evenly and prevents the straps from digging into the shoulders.
- The backpack should have a waist strap. This helps distribute the weight more evenly across the body.
- Teach your child to use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles and may lead to leaning to one side to offset the bag's weight.
In addition to these tips, encourage your child to lift the backpack by using their knees and not by bending over from the waist. By doing so, it helps to avoid twisting the spine. Show them the proper way to wear a backpack: The pack should rest evenly in the middle of the back, not sag down towards the buttocks.
Make it a regular practice to check your child's backpack for unnecessary items. Just as wearing a helmet became second nature, proper backpack habits can also become ingrained. With these steps, you can ensure your child's backpack helps them carry their school supplies without hurting their back.
#4. Wear Proper Shoes
Ensuring that your child wears the right type of shoes for school is another critical aspect of safety to consider. Wearing ill-fitting or inappropriate shoes can lead to discomfort, injuries, and even long-term foot problems. Therefore, investing time in finding the proper footwear that provides comfort, support, and safety is essential.
Here are some tips to consider when choosing shoes for your child:
- Shoes should be the correct size. This might seem obvious, but children's feet grow fast, and regular sizing checks are essential. The shoe should have about a thumb's width between the end of the shoe and the longest toe to allow for growth and movement.
- Shoes should have a non-slip sole. This helps to prevent slips and falls, particularly in wet or slippery conditions.
- Shoes should provide good support. Look for shoes with a supportive arch and a slightly raised heel. Also, ensure the shoes have laces, buckles, or Velcro straps to keep them securely on the feet.
- Shoes should be made of breathable material. This helps to prevent foot odor and conditions such as athlete's foot.
- Lastly, shoes should be appropriate for the school's dress code and the activities your child will be engaged in. For example, if they have physical education classes, they will need sports shoes and regular school shoes.
It's a good idea to take your child along when shoe shopping. This way, they can try on different pairs and walk around in them to ensure they are comfortable. Also, remind your child always to wear socks with their shoes to prevent blisters and keep their feet dry. Proper shoes can make a big difference in your child's school experience, helping them stay safe and comfortable throughout the day.
#5. Maintain Open Communication
Maintaining open lines of communication with your child is crucial for their safety. Children should be encouraged to share their experiences, concerns, and fears about school. This dialogue can provide valuable insights into potential safety issues they encounter and help you guide them in handling such situations effectively.
Here are some ways to facilitate open communication:
- Set aside a specific time each day to talk about school. This could be during breakfast, dinner, or before bedtime.
- Ask open-ended questions that encourage your child to share details about their day.
- Listen attentively to your child's responses without interrupting. Show empathy and understanding.
- Encourage your child to share their feelings and worries. Reassure them that it's okay to feel scared or anxious and that they can always turn to you for help.
- Maintain a positive and supportive tone during these conversations. Avoid criticizing or blaming, as this could discourage your child from sharing in the future.
With your child knowing they have a safe and non-judgmental space to share their experiences, they are more likely to express their feelings or raise alarms about any unsafe situations they face. Regular conversations about school can also provide opportunities to reinforce safety rules and guidelines.
An open line of communication isn't just essential between you and your child—it also extends to the school. Get to know your child's teachers and school staff, stay updated on school activities and attend parent-teacher meetings. Being involved in your child's school life allows you to stay informed and spot any potential problems early.
Call Carlson & Dumeer, LLC at (877) 795-5594
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, school accidents can still happen. When this happens, it's important to understand your rights and ensure your child receives the compensation they deserve for injuries or suffering.
At Carlson & Dumeer, LLC, our personal injury attorneys understand that no amount of money can make up for a child’s injuries. Still, it does help families through tough times and covers medical expenses. Our team of experienced attorneys is here to provide legal counsel tailored to your family's needs.
With Carlson & Dumeer, LLC by your side, you can rest assured knowing you have a compassionate and dedicated team fighting for your child's rights. We're here to guide you every step of the way, turning legal jargon into understandable language and ensuring you're informed throughout the process. Our goal is to help you focus on what matters most - your child's recovery.If you have a legal matter, don't hesitate to call Carlson & Dumeer, LLC at (877) 795-5594 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.