SAN ANTONIO -- Now that summer is coming to an end and autumn is on its way, back to school safety is something all parents should keep in mind.
Whether this is the first time parents are preparing to send their child to school or the 14th time, there are many things to think about in order to encourage a safe year.
“When my children were younger, I remember the start of a new school year being stressful for both parents and kids,” said Marvin Joyce, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Safety Office operational health specialist.
“We found early preparation helped us (parents) reduce the stress and helped ensure a smooth transition for everyone getting in the back-to-school routine.”
Some basic safety tips to pass onto children are to make sure they know to always look both ways before crossing the street, wear a helmet when biking and not to talk to people they don’t know.
It is also crucial that children are provided a lunch with an appropriately sized healthy snack and enough water. They should also be aware if they are allergic to anything they might come across while at school.
It is important that parents plan for how their child will get to and from school each day, Joyce said.
“Approximately 24 million kids ride the bus to school every day,” he said. “When waiting for the bus, children should know not to play in the street and to stay far enough back from the curb so they can’t accidentally step into the street.
“Once they’re on the bus, they should quickly find their seats, sit down and put on their seatbelt,” Joyce added. “Since school buses make numerous stops, it is important for children to remain in their seats until the bus arrives at school.”
Although many children take a bus to school, there are still many who walk, ride their bike, skateboard, get rides from parents and carpool.
“Parents who choose to let their children walk or ride their bike to school should travel the route several times before the first day of school,” said Tech. Sgt. Travis Yates, Randolph ground safety NCO in charge.
“This helps the parents determine the safest route and the travel time it will take their child to get home; also by laying out the route, parents can locate all street crossings and possible danger areas.”
Besides teaching their kids how to travel safely, parents should ensure they are safe while in class. In a classroom of 20 or more kids and only one teacher, accidents can easily happen.
It is vital parents teach their kids how to correctly handle sharp objects, glue and other toxic materials.
The way parents go about starting the school year has a big impact on how smooth the transition from a summer to school mindset plays out.
“Anyone with children knows the start of a new school year is stressful,” Yates said.
“Buying clothes, getting school supplies, immunizations and everything else will push parents to the edge of sanity, but proper planning and preparation can greatly reduce the stress on everyone.”