Safety: One Back-to-School Supply Not to Forget

NSC checklist helps protect students as they start a new school year.

August 15, 2019

Itasca, IL – Parents and caregivers have their hands full shopping for school supplies as students head back to class in the coming weeks. One critical item may be overlooked but is among the most important: safety.

To help, the National Safety Council has developed a Back to School Safety Checklist that provides information caregivers can use to prioritize children’s safety and wellbeing on the road, in the classroom and on the playground.

“In addition to making sure students have paper, pencils and other supplies for the new school year, we have to remember safety,” said Lorraine M. Martin, NSC president and CEO. “By taking the time to review a few safety messages with children, adults can help make sure the school year will not only be educational but also safe.”

NSC Injury Facts data reinforce tips on the checklist. For example, school buses remain the safest option for transporting kids to and from school – safer than riding in a car – while loading and unloading are the most dangerous times for students who ride a school bus. To maximize safety during rides, NSC calls on all states to pass laws requiring three-point seat belts on all buses.

Four passengers were killed in school bus-related crashes in the U.S. in 2017. Meanwhile, in total that year, 374 pedestrians and 110 bicyclists age 5 to 19 were killed, with overall bicycle fatalities peaking in August.

The Back to School Safety Checklist includes tips for those whose children ride the bus, walk or bike to school, such as:

  • Go to the bus stop with your child to teach him or her the proper way to get on and off the bus
  • Teach your children to stand 6 feet – or three giant steps – back from the curb
  • If your child must cross the street in front of the bus, teach him or her to walk on the side of the road until they are 10 feet ahead of the bus; your child and the bus driver should always be able to see each other
  • Remind your child to walk on the sidewalk if one is available; on a street with no sidewalk, walk facing traffic
  • Instruct children to stay alert and avoid distracted walking
  • Teach children to ride their bike on the right side of the road, with traffic and in single file
  • Remind your child to always wear a properly fitted helmet and bright clothing when riding a bike or any other device with wheels, such as an e-scooter

The checklist also includes tips for backpack use and avoiding playground injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, backpacks injure as many as 14,000 children each year, and more than 200,000 children go to emergency rooms because of playground-related injuries annually.

To view the complete Back to School Safety Checklist, as well as other back-to-school safety information, visit nsc.org/backtoschool. For additional data about the leading causes of unintentional injury and death, visit injuryfacts.nsc.org.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact.

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