It’s almost that time of the year… back-to-school! Summer is wrapping up and the new school year will be right around the corner. It will be a good time for children to see their friends again and meet their new teachers. However, it is also important for parents and guardians to take care of their children’s health and safety in preparing them for their first day back and throughout the school year.
Parents should ensure they provide up-to-date medical and contact information to the school either before school starts or as soon as possible once the new school year begins. Especially in cases of emergencies, it is important for schools to have accurate information if they have to contact the student’s parent or guardian.
Backpacks are definitely helpful for school children to carry their school books and other materials. However, backpacks can also pose back problems for children and can negatively impact their posture if they are too heavy. According to the American Chiropractic Association, a backpack and its contents should not weigh more than 10% of the child’s weight. When buying a new backpack, parents should ensure that there are several compartments that can distribute weight, that it is an appropriate size for their child, and that both the back and shoulder straps are padded. It is better to have a backpack with less extra space to prevent children from filling it with unnecessary items(1).
Equally as important is bus safety, including getting on and off a bus, riding the school bus, and what parents should be teaching their children. Children should use the handrails when entering and exiting the bus to prevent trips and falls. They also should not make distracting noises or be loud enough to distract the bus driver. Children should also stay in their seats and keep the aisle clear of their belongings to avoid hazards. The most important part of bus safety is crossing the streets and making sure no cars are driving by. By law, drivers must stop for a school bus when it is dropping off or picking up students. The disturbing part is most drivers do not stop. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, many school-aged pedestrians have lost their lives at bus-stops due to careless drivers(2). A word of advice for parents to teach their children…Look both ways before crossing a street, and don’t expect drivers to follow the rules of the road!
With everyone returning back to school and work in September, this leads to more traffic on the roads. To make sure students make it to school and parents make it to work on time, it is best to leave earlier in the morning to avoid heavy traffic. It may also be a good idea to use navigation phone apps, such as Google Maps or Waze, to estimate when may be a good time to leave the house in the morning. With these tips in mind, we hope you and your children have a happy and successful new school year!