As we celebrate Labor Day, parents of school aged children are likely focused on something else today: back to school. While you may have all school supplies ready for the first day of the 2019-2020 school year, you and your student might need a refresher on school safety to keep your child and their classmates safe.  In this post, we cover three important areas for school safety: the bus, the playground, the lunchroom.

The Bus

School bus safety involves getting on, riding, and getting off the bus. The National Safety Counciloffers great guidelines for students during every stage of riding the bus:

Boarding the Bus

  • Keep a safe distance from the road and traffic while waiting for the bus
  • Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop and open its doors before you approach it
  • Wait for safety arm to extend and check for oncoming traffic before crossing a street

Riding the Bus

  • Buckle up if your bus has seat belts available
  • Don’t distract the driver: no yelling, no throwing items, and stay seated
  • Never put any body part out the window
  • Keep the aisle clear; no bags, books, or anything else that would block the aisle
  • Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting up to unload

Getting Off the Bus

  • Use the handrail when walking down steps to exit
  • If crossing the street, walk 10+ feet in front of the bus until you can see the driver before beginning to cross If you have to cross in front of the bus, first walk at least 10 feet ahead until you can see the driver – Make sure the driver can see you!
  • Wait for a signal from the driver before crossing
  • When the driver signals, double check traffic in both directions and stay aware the entire time you are crossing the road
  • Stay away from the rear wheels of the bus at all times

The Playground

Recess is probably most kids’ favorite time of the day, and there is a lot of energy to expend during this short break from the classroom. Making sure your child stays safe at recess involves proper gear and a lesson in politeness.

We recommend that every parent makes sure their child has proper footwear and clothing for recess everyday before they leave for school. In Minnesota, recess can get pretty chilly, so make sure to check the forecast in the morning to make sure your kid has boots, coat, hat, mittens, etc. It is also import that your child can secure their own shoes to avoid tripping – if they cannot tie shoelaces on their own, stick to Velcro for now!

We also recommend covering playground politeness with your child. This includes waiting their turn to use certain equipment, when to check with the supervisor before going to far areas of the playground, and how to avoid unnecessary fights with other kids.

The Lunchroom

Food safety is becoming a national highlight with 4-6% of children in the United States suffering with food allergies (CDC). To keep your child or their classmates with food allergies safe, you should do the following:

  • Ensure that your school sends out a list of prohibited foods and follow these guidelines when sending any food to school with your kid
  • Educate your child about the severity of food allergies and how it is not the fault of the child who suffers from them
  • Teach your kid to speak up if they notice any prohibited foods in the lunchroom

Another piece of food safety involves proper nutrition. School lunches are one aspect of your child’s diet that is beyond your control, so talk with your school administrators about the nutrition in the school lunches and try to fill in the gaps with snacks or lunches brought from home.

We hope these guidelines help you and your child confidently enter this new school year!