The start of a new school year is the perfect time to brush up on safety tips and healthy habits for your kids—and you!
Walking and Biking to School
The healthiest way to get to school is to walk or ride a bike. If this works for your family, put it into practice today! The benefits go far beyond getting exercise. Walking and biking to school:
- Gives kids a sense of independence – Even when they’re walking with a parent or other adult, kids will feel in control of their walk and enjoy making it a part of their daily routine.
- Helps kids and their families get to know their neighborhood – You and your child will see things you might not notice from your car and meet neighbors you don’t usually run into.
- Can promote safer routes to school – When more kids and families walk and bike, it may promote support of safety infrastructure—like sidewalks, crosswalks, and traffic lights—in your community.
- Provides extra time for family communication – A walk creates a no-pressure backdrop for easy conversation between kids and parents.
- Can help lower pollution – Every time you walk or ride a bike instead of driving your car, you’re keeping some emissions out of the environment. Every little bit helps!
Stay Safe While Walking and Biking
Walk with your kids, or have them walk with a neighbor or other school parent, when they are too young to walk by themselves or until they can be trusted to follow safety precautions while walking. Teach them to stay safe by:
- Obeying all traffic signs and signals.
- Cross the street safely: stop before entering the roadway, wait for all traffic to clear, and continue checking for traffic until they’ve safely crossed.
- Always walking across streets—never running.
If your kids bike to school, make sure they:
- Wear helmets.
- Do the “ABC” check before they ride.
- Obey traffic laws and signals.
- Look and listen for traffic and stop before crossing the street, turning, or entering a roadway.
Remember: as a parent or guardian, you are the only one who can determine whether or not your child is ready to walk or bike to school safely. Don’t take chances—when in doubt, escort your child to school or have them go with another trusted adult.
Get additional pedestrian and bicyclist safety tips for kids.
School Sports Safety
Playing sports in school is another activity that can have lifelong benefits for your child. However, it also presents risk of injury, both minor and severe. Help your child have a positive, fulfilling school sports experience by following these safety tips.
- Take your child to get a school sports physical. Most school athletics programs require a complete physical. This helps identify any potential problems or health risks before the season starts.
- Make sure your child wears properly-fitted protective gear. It may be convenient to use hand-me-down pads and helmets, but if they don’t fit your child’s body correctly, they may not protect her well enough.
- Make hydration a priority. Explain to your kids why drinking water frequently is so important to their health and their performance on the field or court.
- Teach your child to listen to his body. Pain is a sign that something is wrong. Tell your child that he should stop activity if it causes pain. This can prevent more serious injury.
For more school sports safety tips, check out this tip sheet from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Reduce the Risk of Illness
We strongly recommend following a regular vaccine schedule. In addition, getting your child—and yourself—an annual flu shot will drastically reduce your family’s chance of contracting the flu and having to miss school or work.
Safety and Health for Your Family
While no precaution is a guarantee, taking steps like the ones described above to reduce your children’s risk of injury or illness can be beneficial to your entire family and community. Safety (and health) first!