Safety Reminders

A reminder of things to think about as we scurry to have our sons and daughters get back in the School ERegiment.

School Travel Safety Tips

Whether your child walks to school, rides a bike, takes a bus, or you drive them in a car, reviewing the following safety tips makes traveling to and from school a safer experience.

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Walking to School – Tips for Parents

  • If you feel your child does not have adequate pedestrian skills to walk to school, either walk with him until you are confident in his ability or make alternate arrangements for getting him to and from school.
  • Practice the route with your child to be sure she knows it.
  • Make sure the route your child takes is safe and has a crossing guard at intersections.

Walking to School – Tips for Children

  • Never take a shortcut through a wooded area. Stay on the route you practiced with your parents.
  • Walk to school with a friend or a group of friends.
  • Wearing light or brightly colored clothing makes it easier for drivers to see you.

Traveling by School Bus

  • Never step off the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop.
  • Always use seat belts if the bus if equipped with them.
  • Do not move around in the bus. Sit quietly in your seat.
  • When leaving the school bus, stay in view of the driver and always cross the street in front of the bus.
  • Even though traffic is supposed to stop for a school bus, always check both ways before crossing the street.

Riding a Bike to School

  • Always wear an approved helmet when riding a bicycle.
  • Wearing clothing that is bright and colorful makes it easier for drivers to see you.
  • Learn hand signals and use them.
  • Ride a bike on the right-hand side of the road traveling in the same direction as the traffic.
  • Always stop for stop signs and follow the rules of traffic lights.
  • Learn and follow the rules of the road.
  • Do not listen to music on your smartphone or another device. Always pay attention to the traffic and listen to what’s going on around you.

Riding to School in a Car

  • Whether you are driving your children or carpooling, make sure each child is securely strapped into their seatbelt. Younger children need the appropriate car seat or booster seat for their age or size.
  • Have each child exit the car using the door on the curbside so he or she isn’t stepping out of the car into traffic.
  • Do not leave the school until your child, or all those in the carpool, are safely inside the school building.

Backpack Safety

Backpacks have become a staple of back to school accessories. They are great for carrying books and other essential school items and are available in a wide variety of sizes, colors, designs and styles. Yet these useful bags are potentially harmful if not used correctly and can cause shoulder or neck injuries, back pain, and muscle and joint strains. The following tips on backpack safety help reduce the chance of injury.

  • When a backpack is fully loaded, it should not weigh more than 15 to 20 percent of the child’s body weight.
  • Never carry a backpack over one shoulder using only one strap. Always wear a backpack using both shoulder straps.
  • If a backpack has a waist strap, use it.
  • Choose a backpack with wide straps. The best choice is a backpack with a padded back and padded straps
  • Use all the compartments in the backpack to distribute the weight of the contents more evenly.

More Back to School Safety Tips

The following are a few general back to school safety tips:

  • Talk to your children and reinforce the rules of stranger danger.
  • Make sure not to pack foods for lunch or snacks that spoil quickly.
  • Talk to your child about bullies and bullying. Explain to them what to do if a situation arises.

Have a Safe School Year

By being aware of their surroundings and following these tips, kids have a better chance of making it through the year safely. Take the time to talk about safety with your children so they’re better prepared for whatever may come their way.

How to Prepare for a Winter Storm

Protecting your family:

  • Talk with your family about what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Discussing winter storms ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for young children.
  • Have your vehicle winterized before the winter storm season to decrease your chance of being stranded in cold weather.
  • Have a mechanic check your battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster, and oil.
  • Install good winter tires with adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate but some jurisdictions require vehicles to be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
  • Keep in your vehicle: – A windshield scraper and small broom – A small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats – Matches in a waterproof container – A brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna – An emergency supply kit, including warm clothing.
  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Keep a supply of non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
  • Service snow removal equipment before the winter storm season and maintain it in good working order.
  • Keep handy a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, water-resistant boots, and extra blankets and warm clothing for each member of the household.

Protecting your pets & animals:

  • Bring your companion animals indoors. – Ensure that you have supplies for clean up for your companion animals, particularly if they are used to eliminating outdoors (large plastic bags, paper towels, and extra cat litter).
  • Create a place where your other animals can be comfortable in severe winter weather:  – Horses and livestock should have a shelter where they can be protected from wind, snow, ice, and rain. – Grazing animals should have access to a protected supply of food and non-frozen water.
  • Be aware of the potential for flooding when snow and ice melt and be sure that your animals have access to high ground that is not impeded by fencing or other barriers. You may not be able to get to them in time to relocate them in the event of flooding. – Ensure that any outbuildings that house or shelter animals can withstand wind and heavy snow and ice- Install snow fences in rural areas to reduce drifting snow on roads and paths, which could block access to homes, barns, and animals’ feed and water.

Protecting your home:

  • Make sure your home heating sources are installed according to local codes and permit requirements and are clean and in working order.
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out.
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation to keep cold air out.
  • Consider buying emergency heating equipment, such as a wood- or coal-burning stove or an electric or kerosene heater.  – Stoves must be properly vented and in good working order. Dispose of ashes safely. Keep a supply of wood or coal on hand. – Electric space heaters, either portable or fixed, must be certified by an independent testing laboratory. Plug a heater directly into the wall socket rather than using an extension cord and unplug it when it is not in use. – Use a kerosene heater only if permitted by law in your area; check with your local fire department. Use only the correct fuel for your unit. Properly ventilate the area. Refuel the unit outdoors only, and only when the unit is cool. Follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Consider storing sufficient heating fuel. Regular fuel sources may be cut off. Be cautious of fire hazards when storing any type of fuel.
  • If you have a fireplace, consider keeping a supply of firewood or coal. Be sure the fireplace is properly vented and in good working order and that you dispose of ashes safely.
  • Consider installing a portable generator, following our safety tips to avoid home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Consider purchasing flood insurance, if you live in a flood-prone area, to cover possible flood damage that may occur during the spring thaw. Homeowners’ policies do not cover damage from floods. Ask your insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) if you are at risk. More information on NFIP is available at www.fema.gov/nfip.

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