Make back to school safe and fun

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 10, 2004

School is back in session in Vincent and will back in session for the rest of Shelby County this Thursday. That means youngsters will be making their way to school and drivers are going to have to be extra careful. Please be aware of children as you drive at all times.

Also, the following are some Children’s Hospital safety tips to help make this a fun and safe school year:

Children riding in cars and buses need to be safety cautious. Whenever a child rides in a car, make sure he or she wears their seat belt every time. Many car accidents happen within five miles of home. The lap part of the seat belt should be low and tight across the upper part of the hips. It should never be around the upper half of the stomach. The shoulder part of the seat belt should hug across the chest and shoulders, not under the arms or across the face or neck.

Children should board buses safely as well. When the bus arrives, students should form a line about 10 feet from the side of the road and back away from the street rather than down the side of the street. Also students should wait until the bus stops and the driver motions them to enter. Children riding buses should stay in their seats. Jumping around or throwing things make it difficult for the driver to concentrate. When exiting the bus, children should hold on to the safety rail and make sure book bags don’t get caught on the rail or the door. As students exit the bus, they should never cross behind it. Instead students should walk 10 feet in front of the bus. If you drop something, tell the bus driver before bending down to pick it up.

If your child walks to school, take a walk to their school, look for blind spots that could spell danger. Also, make sure you walk at the child’s pace to give you an idea about how long it will take them to get home each day.

A child’s backpack should weigh no more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight. Signs of concern include if the child struggles to put the backpack on, if they suffer from back pain, if they have to lean forward to carry the pack and if they have numbness or weakness in the arms or legs.

Things that can help include two wide, padded straps that fit over the shoulders, a padded wait or chest belt to distribute weight more evenly, multiple compartments to distribute weight and a width that is not greater than that of the child’s torso.

Playground safety is another concern. Tell your children not to push or roughhouse while on playground equipment. If your child likes to jump off climbing apparatus, make sure they look before they leap and teach them to land with knees slightly bent and on both feet. Remind them that playground equipment should not be used wet