Early September, excitement fills the air when it’s time for kids and teens to head back to school. But while their minds may be preoccupied with reconnecting with their peers, finding the correct classrooms, and finishing their homework (you hope), there may be even more concerning matters to worry about. This time of year brings new schedules and new activities that can make students more prone to injury — which is why parents and kids need to discuss proper safety procedures beforehand.
And, of course, if an injury does occur, you’ll need to seek out fast medical treatment.

​Staying safe while en route to school is a must. If your child plans on riding their bike to and from school, make sure they always wear a helmet. That way, if they fall or in any type of collision, their risk of injury will be significantly less; in fact, helmets reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85%. You should also instruct your child to ride in the same direction as car traffic and to stay on the right-hand side of the road. Teach them the proper hand signals, to always be aware of their surroundings, and to ride with others to amp up their safety.

Many children rely on the school bus to transport them each morning and afternoon. While that might be a relief for many families, that doesn’t mean your kids can go on autopilot while waiting for and getting onto the bus. Morning pick-ups may take place quite early, sometimes even before the sun has really come up. That’s one of the reasons why it’s essential to wait in the proper location and stay out of the street before the bus arrives. Before getting on or off, students must wait until the bus has come to a complete stop. To prevent injury mid-ride, school children must remain in their seats any time the bus is in motion and must not distract the driver.

Following these transportation rules can keep kids safe before they get to school and after the school day is done. But what about safety in school itself? While most classes will be relatively uneventful, one place students must practice caution is the playground. Recess is meant to be a fun and physical activity — but those efforts can be derailed if students don’t protect themselves during play. For one thing, children must use the equipment as intended; climbing back up a slide or horsing around on the swings can result in surprisingly serious injuries. And speaking of horsing around: teach your children not to engage in horseplay or any type of violence. Around 70% of all playground injuries are related to falls, which means that pushing, shoving, or crowding should be avoided at all costs. In general, teaching your children to “play nice” can actually pay off.

Of course, those aren’t the only playtime conditions that can cause concern. Whether they’re outside for recess or engaging in outdoor activities in P.E., it’s important that both teachers and students take the proper precautions. Extreme weather conditions necessitate inside play, for example. If the heat index is at or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or the wind chill factor is at or below minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit, no one should be spending time outdoors. And when it is nice enough to head outside, protection is needed. In addition to required sports equipment, students should always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an adequate SPF, even on cloudy days. Sunglasses are a must on sunny days, regardless of the season, and proper winter clothing and accessories should be worn when the weather calls for it. Don’t forget about good footwear, either! Look for shoes that are comfortable and durable with treads or even water-resistant features to ensure your child stays safe during outdoor play.

Undoubtedly, this time of year can be quite a thrill. But unless you want your kids to also take a spill, these tips will make sure that September will be totally chill.