By Madeleine Baudoin | Guest Editorial
It’s that time of year again. As another summer comes to a close in San Diego, parents and kids alike are getting their back-to-school plans together—but preparing your kids for a new school year means more than just shopping for supplies.
As the government and public affairs manager for American Medical Response (AMR), I want to remind everyone to keep safety in mind as children and families get back into the school routine. Here are some back-to-school safety tips that will help your children have a safe and healthy school year.
First, if your child bikes to school, talk to them about the importance of always wearing a helmet and help them plan a safe route to school. You can even practice it with them so they develop strong traffic safety skills.
Children who walk to school should be familiar with what traffic signals, signs and pavement markings they will encounter, and what they mean. They should only use sidewalks, never enter streets from between obstacles like parked cars, and look both ways before crossing.
For those driving around school zones, be alert – children are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks. In fact, more children are injured by cars during September than any other month. When driving through a school zone, remember to obey the speed limit and stop completely at stop signs and crosswalks. If you are a daily commuter and not a parent picking up or dropping off, try to avoid school zones altogether by choosing a different route.
There’s safety in numbers, too: children who walk to school should travel in groups if possible. All should know to avoid talking to strangers, get distance between themselves and a stranger who approaches them, and tell you or a teacher about any incident that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Since more and more children are using mobile devices, it’s also important to make sure your kids practice basic safety and common sense when using theirs. Teach them to be aware of their surroundings and keep their eyes off their phones while walking, especially when crossing the street. For teens driving to school, make sure they know: no texting, games, social media, or talking on the phone while driving—by California law, drivers under 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while they drive, even when equipped with a hands-free device.
By following these simple tips, you can help your family have a much safer and healthier school year ahead. For more information on back to school safety, visit the National Safety Council at nsc.org.
— Madeleine Baudoin is government and public affairs manager for American Medical Response, the largest paramedic company in San Diego, which has been in operation here for more than 60 years.