With labour day weekend only hours away, we have reached the unofficial end to summer. Next week the kids are back to school, the days start getting shorter and summer vacation becomes a distant memory.
While you savour these last moments of summer, take some time to discuss back to school safety with your children as well as brush up yourselves. According to Toronto Police, motor-vehicle collisions remain the leading cause of death and hospitalization for Canadian children under the age of 14. A frank conversation with your kids can arm them with the knowledge they need to stay safe.
Safety Tips for Children
- Stop, look and listen before crossing the street or any alleyways. Always cross busy streets at intersections with crossing guards.
- Be aware of cars backing out of driveways. Smaller children may be difficult for drivers to see through their back window. Make sure you stop and wait before crossing the driveway.
- Be aware of cars turning right before crossing an intersection. The drivers are usually looking towards their left at the oncoming traffic and may not look right before proceeding. If you see this, wait to cross until you have made eye contact with the driver.
- Know your address, home phone and mom and dad’s work numbers in case of emergency
- Never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers.
- Find a walking buddy. Kids are much safer in groups of two or more.
Safety Tips for Adults
- Be a good role model by walking with your children to school and demonstrating safety awareness. It also might be helpful for the first few walks to school to narrate as you walk. Verbal cues can help children learn more easily and make associations between what you are saying and real life applications.
- Do not text or speak on your cell phone while driving. Nothing is more important than your safety or the safety of others you share the roads and sidewalks with.
- Slow down in school zones. Follow the posted speed limits and ensure you keep your eyes open.
- Ensure schools and/or daycares have updated contact information for you and secondary emergency contacts, as well as a list of trusted individuals your child can be released to.
The start of the school year is hectic and fun, and by being safety conscious we can make sure it is a smooth transition for all.