In addition to making sure students have paper, pencils and other supplies for the new school year, we have to remember safety, said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. By taking the time to review a few safety messages with children, adults can help make sure the school year will not only be educational but also safe.
Data on the National Safety Council Injury Facts website reinforce tips on the checklist. For example, school buses remain the safest option for transporting kids to and from school - safer than riding in a car - while loading and unloading are the most dangerous times for students who ride a school bus.1 To maximize safety during rides, the National Safety Council calls on all states to pass laws requiring three-point seat belts on all buses.
Four passengers were killed in school bus-related crashes in the U.S. in 2017.2 Meanwhile, in total that year, 374 pedestrians and 110 bicyclists age 5 to 19 were killed, with overall bicycle fatalities peaking in August.
The Back to School Safety Checklist includes tips for those whose children ride the bus, walk or bike to school, such as
Go to the bus stop with your child to teach him or her the proper way to get on and off the bus
Teach your children to stand six feet - or three giant steps - away (back) from the curb
If your child must cross the street in front of the bus, teach him or her to walk on the side of the road until they are 10 feet ahead of the bus; your child and the bus driver should always be able to see each other
Remind your child to walk on the sidewalk, if one is available; when on a street with no sidewalk, walk facing traffic
Instruct children to stay alert and avoid distracted walking
Teach children to ride their bike on the right side of the road, with traffic, and in single file
Remind your child to always wear a properly fitted helmet and bright clothing when riding a bike (or any other device with wheels, such as an e-scooter)
The checklist also includes tips for backpack use and avoiding playground injuries. Backpacks injure as many as 14,000 children each year3, and more than 200,000 children go to emergency rooms because of playground-related injuries annually4.
To view the complete Back to School Safety Checklist, as well as other back-to-school safety information, visit nsc.org/backtoschool. For additional data about the leading causes of unintentional injury and death, visit injuryfacts.nsc.org.