Friday, August 30, 2013

Back to School Tips for a Safe and Successful School Year

by Natalie Horn, volunteer contributor

The summer heat has showed no signs of cooling down, and at the risk of stating the obvious, it has truly been a scorcher. The sweltering heat we have come to expect this time of the year is just getting started and, if you can believe it, it’s time for a new school year already! There is no way you could have forgotten, right? Back to School advertisements are inundating you through every medium: television, radio, even at the door of every local store you enter, beckoning you to hit up their back to school sales.

Although we know how important it is to save money on school supplies and look your absolute best for that first day (She totally HAS to have those jeans, Mom), take a moment to make sure you are preparing your child for a successful and safe year with these tips:

Walk the Walk

This heat isn’t goin’ anywhere, folks. If your children are walking to and from school, lightweight clothing to stay cool is a must as well as sunscreen. Lather up with that SPF because nothing is worse than a sunburn on picture day! Another risk from this insane heat wave is dehydration. Always make sure you have packed a sufficient amount of water to quench their thirst during the journey home. Finally, and most importantly, remember to also teach your children about stranger danger! Remind them to avoid contact with strangers, and to never get in the car with anyone, even if they are familiar.

If you are driving children home from school, providing a snack in the car is very important. Children often have lunch during the early part of the school day and providing an afternoon bite can give children the energy they need for homework or after school activities. For example, running errands after school is very common for riders, so please consider that these little tykes may be famished after a long day of learning. Also remember to always buckle up before take off!

The Bikers
A majority of children love riding their bikes to school. If your child is an aspiring BMX rider, always make sure he or she is wearing a bike helmet and has reflective gear on the bicycle. Helmets save lives!

Home Alone
Sometimes, due to work schedules, children may arrive home before their parents. Be sure to provide all emergency numbers for them in an appropriate place near a telephone in the home. Home Alone wouldn’t have been a blockbuster hit if Kevin McAllister’s parents had provided him with an “in case of emergency” contact! It is very important that your kids understand the significance of reacting quickly during a moment of crisis. This means knowing how to contact local law enforcement, having multiple exits from the home in case of emergency and a safe place for the home preparedness kit is.

Life Saver
Another great way to make sure that a home with small children is prepared for disasters is to become a CPR/First Aid trained parent. You never know when a child will need life-saving skills performed on them, and whether it is your child or someone elses, being trained in CPR and First Aid allows you to bring that service to your family and community. To sign up for this vital training with the Red Cross in your area, click here. Or at the very least, download the Red Cross First Aid app for tips on what to do in everyday emergencies.

So as the air gets crisp, the leaves change colors and the kiddos return to school, please remember to sit down as a family to discuss scheduling, good school behavior, and, of course, safety.

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