Back to School Safety Tips for Kids of All Ages
Send your kids off to class with these safety tips.
Before school resumes, take a moment to discuss safety basics and smart life choices. Use this easy guide to make sure your child is prepared.
Whether your child is 5 or 15, set some general safety ground rules for the school year:
- Plan how your student goes back and forth to school. Tell little ones to not accept rides from strangers. Have older kids ask permission before accepting rides from newly licensed friends.
- Talk about when friends can come over after school.
- Remind kids to keep their cell phones on so you can contact them. (Just be sure to take into account school phone policies.)
- Post computer rules, including how many hours of “screen time” (computer, electronic games, television) and what sites are allowed.
- Teach cycling safety. Make helmet use mandatory. Invest in a bike lock and teach your child to use it.
- Review your insurance coverage on your computers and other electronics.
Your littlest scholars have their own safety issues to address:
- Make walking to school a group affair. Organize a “walking school bus,” with a designated adult accompanying a group of neighborhood children.
- Carpool smart. If you drive kids under age 13, they should ride in the rear seat, as advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
- Plan for after school. The AAP advises that children younger than 13 should not come home to an empty house after school.
Address these critical safety issues with teens:
- Deter driving distractions. Require seat belt use, limit passengers, ban cell phone use and texting while driving, and limit driving at night.
- Check your insurance. If your teen has a learner’s permit, check with your agent to see whether coverage is necessary. (Insurance laws vary by state.)
- Sign it. Draw up an informal agreement that specifies rules and expectations for young drivers and their parents.
- Pick safe friends. Caution your teens about riding with other young drivers, and specify when and with whom it’s acceptable. Talk about what to do if a driver has been using drugs or alcohol.
Provide backup protection for college students when accidents or poor judgment lead to trouble.
- Safeguard their stuff. Your student’s equipment—from smartphones to computers—needs to be protected from theft or damage. Your homeowners policy may cover equipment, or you may need renters insurance or personal property coverage.
- Safeguard their health. If possible, keep your student under a parent’s healthcare coverage. Check that the college doesn’t automatically sign up your student for additional health insurance that’s not needed.
- Safeguard their choices. Before you wave goodbye, have a frank discussion about alcohol and drug use and other challenging situations.