Tampa Bay area students head back to school in the next few weeks and All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine, along with our Florida Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition, Safe Routes to School and Fit4Allkids programs, are providing a back to school safety checklist for parents and students:
- Make sure your student has an updated physical exam on file - Ensure your child is up-to-date on any vaccinations, and if they are involved in sports, make sure they get a pre-participation physical exam to rule out any medical conditions that could put them at risk.
- Put down the electronic devices when walking to school - Almost 500 children die every year in pedestrian accidents. Teach your kids to put devices down, look up, listen, make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and always use designated crosswalks with traffic controlled intersections or staffed by school crossing guards.
- Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait for it to arrive - Parents and kids should stand three giant steps back from the curb as a bus approaches and board the bus one at a time.
- Practice bike safety - Always wear a helmet, use crosswalks and never ride out between parked cars or anything that can block a driver's view. Again, remember to use designated crosswalks with traffic controlled intersections or staffed by school crossing guards.
- Pack a healthy meal - Fit4Allkids offers several ideas for healthy lunches and snacks to pack for your child, as well as healthy cooking classes and fitness activities. You can even request a free Kohl's Cooks For Kids cookbook for easy meals to prepare with your child.
- Avoid germs by encouraging frequent hand washing - Wash hands after using the rest room, touching keyboards, taking PE class and before eating. When washing hands, apply soap and scrub hands for at least 10-15 seconds. In between hand washing, use hand sanitizer and rub hands for 10 seconds.
- Purchase the right backpack for your child - Ensure your child doesn't injure their back, neck or shoulders by selecting a backpack with wide straps that is lightweight. Make sure they use both straps and avoid overloading the backpack.
Get more safety tips and healthy lunch ideas in our Back-to-School guide.