Part of heading back to school is actually getting your kids back to school safely. According to the Centers for Disease Control, on average, there is one pedestrian death every two hours and a pedestrian injury every eight minutes in the United States. Vehicles and kids can be a very scary combination whether the child is walking, biking, riding or driving.
"It's important for parents to go over and enforce traffic-safety rules when kids are heading back to school. Talk to your kids and have them verbally repeat the rules back to you. Don't just go with a head nod, make sure they know the rules and why they are important," said Bridget Boyd, MD, Loyola University Health System pediatric safety expert and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
When walking to and from school Boyd says kids need to be extremely careful when crossing the street and to try to always use crosswalks.
"If possible, children should try to cross with a crossing guard and make sure they know never to cross where cars are not looking for them, like running across the middle of a street," Boyd said.
She also suggests having an adult walk the child to school. If this isn't possible, do a few trial runs. Walk to school with your child a few times together to ensure he or she feels comfortable and understands the route.
If there will not be adult supervision here are some safety rules:
•Always walk in a group
•Take the same, safest route. Don't look for shortcuts
•Always use crosswalks and the assistance of crossing guards when available
•Be aware of your surroundings
•Don't talk to strangers
•Do not wear headphones
"Wearing headphones can be distracting, making us less attentive to our surroundings and possibly run into other people, trees or cars. They cause us to be less aware of dangerous situations that make children more vulnerable to predators. If your child must wear headphones ask, him or her to only have them on one ear so they can still hear," Boyd said.