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Put “Safety” High on Your Back-to School Checklist

As you get your kids ready to go back to school, you’re probably busy making lists of school supplies you need to buy and scheduling doctor’s appointments for immunizations. One thing you don’t want to forget to do during this busy time of year is review back-to-school safety information with your kids.

Use these tips to help prevent accidents and to keep your kids safe at school:

Review basic street safety.

Whether your children take the bus to school or you drop them off directly, make sure to review the basic guidelines on how to safely cross the street. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010 nearly one in every five children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes was a pedestrian. Remind your children to only cross the street in designated crosswalks and to look both ways before crossing. If there’s a crossing guard at an intersection, make sure to follow his or her directions.

Prevent accidents on the playground.

Every kid loves to be able to run around during recess, but playgrounds can pose lots of opportunities for accidents and injuries. To help protect your child, make sure to remove drawstrings and other cords from their clothing. These strings can easily get trapped in playground equipment and lead to strangulation. Children should always be supervised while on the playground. If you have concerns, talk with your school and your child’s teacher about the level of supervision.

Use proper equipment to prevent sports injuries.

If your children play sports during the school year, make sure they are outfitted with the proper equipment to prevent injuries, especially concussions. While it’s OK to buy gently used equipment in some instances, like lacrosse or hockey sticks, don’t skimp on a good quality helmet. A used helmet could already have the padding damaged and that will offer your children less protection. Make sure you can recognize the signs of a concussion (PDF) and learn how to prevent other common sports injuries like sprains or pulled muscles.

Talk to your kids about bullying.

No one feels safe at school if they are the victim of bullying or cyberbullying. Make sure you talk to your kids about bullying and teach them to report any cases of bullying they see at school, even if they aren’t the victim. Use the tips from StopBullying.gov to get the conversation started.

For more great back to school tips and other ways you can prepare your kids, visit Kids.gov.

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