Back-to-School Safety Tips
Even though children are still in summer mode and thinking all about playing with their friends, parents are starting to gear up for the fall and the time when they send their students back to school. This means shopping, scheduling, planning, and preparing. Many parents think about what clothes and equipment their kids will need, but they forget to think about keeping their family safer. Here are a few things that you should consider at this time of the year.
Parking Lot Safety at Shopping Malls
If you are visiting any of the big malls in Arizona, such as Arizona Mills, Paradise Valley Mall, Fiesta Mall, Scottsdale Fashion Square, Biltmore Fashion Park, or the Tucson Mall, be prepared for larger crowds, especially as the back-to-school deadline approaches. Everyone is thinking about shopping and getting supplies for their children, so more and more people will be flocking to the local malls. Drive safely and always be alert, and watch for other drivers and pedestrians who aren’t paying attention. Many people forget that parking lots are dangerous: they don’t look both ways before crossing, they engage in distracting conversations, they talk on the phone instead of paying attention to the road, and they get aggressive when looking for parking spots. Leave yourself plenty of time to find a spot and don’t get involved in aggressive driving.
Practice Commuting Safely to School
Many families wait until the very first day of school to figure out how much time it takes to get there, where the school bus is, which way the child should walk, etc. It’s a much better idea to practice this in the weeks before school starts. This way, you’ll have the time to talk to your children about safety practices such as looking both ways, waiting for crossing guards to help them, walking with friends instead of alone, and avoiding suspicious strangers. You can also identify friends’ houses along the way where children can get assistance if they need it. Even if you are driving your child to school, it’s important for you to discuss parking lot safety, where your child should meet you when school is over, and how to get ahold of you if there’s an emergency.
What to Pack
While we all remember to pack books and supplies, few parents remember to pack extra items for safety. For example, packing a full water bottle and a hat for shade is a good idea if students are walking to or from school. Talk to your students about staying hydrated and avoiding heat-related injuries. It’s also a good idea to give students a way to contact you, whether with a cell phone or another form of communication. If nothing else, they should know your number and know who to ask to borrow a phone. Pack a list of emergency numbers in their backpacks, including a photocopy of each child’s insurance card in case she is injured and teachers need to access it quickly. If your children have allergies or medical issues, be sure to include this information as well, or purchase a medical bracelet for emergency personnel to review. Students should also have plenty of healthy snacks so they aren’t hungry during school hours.
Purchase Equipment That Fits
When you do shop for clothes, bags, and sports equipment, opt for items that fit well. You don’t want your child running around in shoes that are too big or a backpack that is too heavy. You also want helmets to fit properly to protect your child’s head in case of an accident. Ask a professional for help in getting the correct fit. If you are on a tight budget, shop at a store that offers quality used items and employees who are knowledgeable about fit and safety. However, never purchase a used helmet: it might have hidden cracks or other damage.