Back To School Safety: Top 5 Tips for Walkers

Part One: Top Five Tips for “Walkers”

Back to school season is in full swing all across the country. School supplies are flying off the shelves. Meet-the-teacher orientations are being held. Lunches are being packed. Alarms are being set for the wee hours of the early morning.

And with the back to school season comes a whole host of situations and activities that have the potential to be hazardous to your child’s safety. That’s why we’re starting this multi-part Back-to-School Safety Series, to help you and your family navigate the season safely and effectively.

For part one, we’re giving you the top five safety tips for students who walk to school.

1. Before school starts, walk with your child to both them learn the directions and to ensure that they are using the safest route to take. Time the trip so that both you and your child know how long it should take and when you expect them to be home. Once school resumes, if you can’t be there to walk with them to and/or from school everyday, ensure that they can walk with a friend or sibling. Ideally, children should never be allowed to walk home alone. Encourage the use of the buddy system, so that your child always has a “buddy” to look out for him or her. And make sure that your child knows to always travel the pre-arranged route and to never take short cuts, even if they think it’s faster or if their friends are doing it.

2. Teach your child what to do in case of an emergency. If they are old enough to have a cell phone, make sure that any and all emergency numbers they might need are programmed into the phone. Remind your child to avoid talking to strangers or approaching unknown cars. Tell them that if they ever feel unsafe for any reason, to run away and find a trusted adult to help.

3. If they are old enough to have a cellphone, set rules for your child regarding using their mobile device while they are walking to and from school. Texting and walking, SnapChatting and walking, or playing video games and walking can distract your child from his or her surroundings, which can lead to potentially unsafe situations.

Look for part two of our Back-to-School Safety series in the upcoming weeks for more helpful tips to keep you and your children safe during the back-to-school season and throughout the school year.