Thursday, August 11, 2011


For many Florida kids the time has come… school has started! Or if it hasn’t, it will soon and parents are either cheering or dreading that first very early morning.  Kids everywhere will be dressed in their new outfits, sporting their spiffy new backpacks, wearing shiny new white tennis shoes, and parents will start their beginning of the school year routines. You know we always start off with a bang!
So parents – the start of the school year… we all know how busy this time is…filling out all the paperwork, adding lunch money to their account, setting up a homework system, getting everyone back into the early morning routine.  But please don’t forget a very important task on that to do list of yours: teaching kids safety tips for traveling to and from school. Here are some to get you started – and if I’ve missed any, please let me know:
For walkers/bike riders
  • Make sure you plan a safe route and walk/ride it with your child ahead of time
  • Kids should always travel in pairs/groups (if someone is sick/an adult should accompany the lone child)
  • Of course your child should wear all appropriate safety gear if riding a bike or scooter to school (I would personally say skip the scooter, but that’s coming from a mom whose child suffered bilateral arm fractures on one of those things, well falling off one of them really  - personal choices aside – safety gear on all items should be a mandatory rule.)
  • Teach your child to follow all safety rules, including staying on sidewalks or within designated paths and  crosswalks, etc… and listening to safety guards. Encourage them to ask you or the school questions if they are unsure about their route.
For bus riders
  • Teach children when waiting at the bus stop to stay with the group, stay out of the street, and an adult should be present if possible (maybe your neighborhood could rotate bus stop duty). Instruct your child to follow all safety rules taught by the school and bus driver.
For all kids
  • Teach kids to never go with a stranger, or even someone they know from your neighborhood, unless you have pre-arranged it.  You might want to consider having a family password that only your family knows that you give to others in emergency situations that need to pick up your child.  If a person has the password, your child will know you really did send that person to pick them up, and it is safe to go with that person.
  • Teach kids their personal identifying information, their full name, parents/caregivers full names, address, home and cell phone(s). Also teach them who it is and isn’t appropriate to share this information with. 
  • Develop a personal safety plan with your child.  For this and other resources and safety tips, please visit 
Parents, please don’t forget this very important “to do” on your back to school check list.  It won’t take THAT long – and it’s great information for your child. It educates and empowers them and while ultimately it’s your job to keep them safe, it helps them follow the safety rules which helps you do your very important job of keeping them safe! 
p.s. Don’t forget to periodically check in and make sure they are following the rules, however.  They are after all – KIDS!   

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