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Health Connection: August 2016

Kids Heading Back to School?  Keep ‘Em Safe

It’s almost that time again! As you buy school supplies and re-work the family schedule around a new school year, be sure to take some time to think through safety issues for your child, and to discuss these with him or her. These tips can get you started:

Protect Your Child’s Back

  • Choose a backpack for your child carefully. It should have ergonomically designed features to enhance safety and comfort.
  • Don’t overstuff a backpack; it should weigh no more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight. For example, a
    child who weighs 60 pounds should carry a backpack no heavier than 12 pounds.
  • Ask your child to use both straps when wearing his or her backpack to evenly distribute the weight.

Walk This Way

  • Review your family’s walking safety rules with your child.
  • Instruct your child to walk on the sidewalk, when one is available — or, if walking on a street with a sidewalk, to walk facing the traffic.
  • Remind your child to stop and look all ways before crossing the street, to see if cars are coming.
  • Ensure that your child knows never to dart out in front of a parked car.
  • Practice walking to school with your child.

Teach Safe Biking Rules

  • Make sure your child always wears his or her helmet when leaving the house to ride a bike.
  • Ensure that your child knows how to ride a bicycle safely by teaching him or her these rules of the road:
    — Ride on the right side of the road and in a single file.
    — Come to a complete stop before crossing a street.

Get on the Bus — Safely

  • Go to the bus stop with your child to teach him or her the proper way to get on and off the bus.
  • Make sure your child knows to stand at least six feet away from the curb.
  • If you and your child need to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the side of the road until you are at least 12 feet ahead of the bus. You always should be able to see the bus driver, and the bus driver always should be able to see you.
—Source: National Safety Council

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