Back to School Safety Tips

By: Jana L. Davidson, Education Content Specialist for the Progressive Agriculture Foundation

Notebooks…check, pens & pencils…check, new clothes…check, safety…wait what? For many families, this is a very busy time of year! Just likes it seems to do every year, summer went by too fast and those three little words most kids dread to hear “BACK TO SCHOOL” are being echoed around the country. Over the past few weeks, we tried squeezing in our last family getaways and headed out to the stores for all the last minute back to school necessities, but as we officially kick-off another school year it is important to discuss SAFETY! Here are a few quick tips to assure your child is starting the school year off right:

  • When back to school shopping, be sure to select a backpack that is ergonomically designed. Remind your child to not over-stuff their backpack, they should not weigh more that 10%-20% of your child’s weight. Also, encourage them to use both straps to evenly distribute weight.
  • Getting back in the school routine after summer break can be challenging, but by assuring your child is getting a good night sleep, get in their vitamin C, and starting of each morning with a healthy breakfast, they will be better equip to fight off the germs, prevent illness, and will be more alert during the school day.
  • Encourage your children to always walk on sidewalks. If there isn’t one, they should walk on the left side of the road facing the oncoming traffic.
  • The U.S. National Safety Council offers these suggestions regarding bus safety: Walk your child to the bus stop on the first day of school and show the child the appropriate ways to board and exit the bus. Tell your child to stand at least 6 feet back from the curb while waiting for the bus. If your child must cross in front of the bus, teach him or her to walk on the curb until he or she is 12 feet ahead of the bus. Make sure your child knows that he or she should always be able to see the bus driver, and that the bus driver should always be able to see the child.
  • If you are driving your child to and from school, always make sure your child wears a seat belt and children 12 & under should sit in the backseat. Depending on the size and weight of your child, a booster seat may still be needed.
  • You never know when the school may need to reach a parent in the event of an emergency. If you have moved or changed your phone number or e-mail since the end of the last school year, be sure you to notify the school with the change.
  • Make it a point to talk to your child about their day at school, whether in the car ride home or over dinner. This will help you identify any signs of bullying or other issues that may be going on at school and allow you to address the problem early on.

For a complete list of back to school safety tips, visit the National Safety Council

These safety tips are examples of what children learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day, which are held each year in more than 400 local communities throughout North America. To learn more about the Safety Day program, visit our website at