School approaches and safety should be on everyone’s mind

The last thing we knew, it was Memorial Day and nice weather was just beginning to make its way across the Upper Peninsula. In a blink, Labor Day is right around the corner, and that means students will be heading back to school.

While most parents are making lists of school supplies for the kids, the American Red Cross offered some suggestions in a Tuesday article for safety steps for parents to consider as well.

Their first suggestion is to make sure your child knows their phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 9-1-1. And, of course, teach children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know.

In addition, if children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand away from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive. Once the bus arrives, they should board the bus only after it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has instructed them to get on. The child should always be aware of their bus number, and only board their bus, never an alternate one.

After being dropped off back at home, children should always stay in clear view of the bus driver and never walk behind the bus.

Two more tips were offered on, reminding parents that it is important to also talk with your child about safety, and be specific when doing so. Talk about instinct and paying attention to funny feelings of fear. Explain what to do if he or she doesn’t feel safe (find a teacher, call 911, etc.). In addition, inform school staff about health and emotional concerns. Whether your child has a food allergy, a physical disability, or has been subject to bullying — make sure to keep your child’s teachers and principal in the loop.

While this is always a hectic time of year for parents, the last thing anyone wants is an unnecessary accident that could have easily been prevented with a little proactive thinking. We at the Journal ask everyone to use the proper precautions when getting their kids off to school next week, and to the kids — good luck on a new school year!