Look at the empty shelves of any office supply store, and you’ll know without a doubt-it’s back-to-school time. Around the country, kids are donning new outfits, strapping on backpacks full of shiny school supplies, and climbing onto big, yellow busses.
It’s a time of excitement and anticipation for teachers, students, and parents alike. It’s also time to put safety first.
Parents, schools, and communities can all play a role in keeping kids safe as they head back to the classroom. Here’s how:
Getting to and from school
- Teach school bus safety.
- Always buckle up, and make sure kids ride in the back seat or in a booster seat when appropriate.
- Reduce teen driving risks with graduated licensing, educational programs, and parental controls.
- Walk with children to school and practice safe pedestrian behavior.
- Insist that children wear helmets when riding bikes and scooters.
At school and after
- Provide safe, well-maintained playgrounds and sports fields, and supervise children while they play.
- Help children and youth choose healthy friendships and dating relationships.
- Teach kids how to handle conflict and what to do about bullies.
- Learn and watch for signs that a child might be the victim of violence or abuse or be thinking about suicide.
- Encourage safe play in sports and learn the signs of concussion.
In addition to promoting safety tips, we must also continue to explore policies, engineering solutions, and changes in social norms that will help prevent youth injuries and violence.
Laws for graduated licensing, which increase driving privileges as a teen’s experience increases, reduce the number of deaths among the nation’s youngest drivers. Creating safe walking and biking routes not only reduces injuries among those who walk or pedal to school, but also encourages physical activity. Replacing unsafe playground equipment and surfaces lowers the risk of injury among young students. And changing the way society as a whole views violence among young people-particularly dating violence and bullying-will go a long way in preventing it.
To find out more about CDC’s efforts to prevent injuries and violence among school children and youth, check out our back-to-school safety web page.