Head Back to School Keeping the ABC’s of Safety in Mind – Always Be Careful!

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

With August upon us, the end of summer is drawing near. Soon, students all over the country will be heading back to school for the start of another new and exciting year of learning. Keep in mind some safety and health concerns for all of us to be aware of from vaccinations and buses to getting back in a routine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes the month of August as National Immunization Awareness Month. From the time a child is born until they go off to college, they’ll get vaccines to protect against a number of serious diseases. The need for vaccination does not end in childhood and are recommended throughout our lives based on age, lifestyle, occupation, travel locations, medical conditions, and previous vaccination history. If you haven’t already, check your child’s immunization record and schedule a visit to their physician or clinic. Doing so now will avoid a potential last minute rush and will help ensure there are no surprises on the first day of school.  Most schools require children to be up-to-date on vaccinations before starting school in order to protect the health of all students. If you are unsure of your state’s school immunization requirements, check with your child’s doctor, school, child care provider, college health center, or local health department.

13-056_SchoolBusSafety_970Buses will become more prevalent on roadways carrying children to and from school, as well as after school sporting events and activities. This may require additional time in our morning or evening commutes to and from work. Drivers should follow the speed limit and slowdown in school zones and near bus stops. Remember, stay alert and look for kids who may be trying to get to or from the school bus. Slow down and stop if you’re driving near a school bus that is flashing yellow or red lights. This means the bus is either preparing to stop (yellow) or already stopped (red), and children are getting on or off. Kids need to practice safety around buses as well. Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. Teach kids to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time. Teach kids to wait for the school bus to come to a complete stop before getting off and to not walk behind the bus. If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, he or she should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver indicates it’s safe. Teach kids to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.

Finally, getting back in the school routine after summer break can often be a challenge. Assure your child is getting a good night sleep, get in their vitamin C, and starting each morning with a healthy breakfast, they will be better equipped to fight off the germs, prevent illness, and will be more alert during the school day. Also, 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.

These topics are some of the lessons children learn when they attend a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day®. Call 888- 257-3529 or visit progressiveag.org to locate one near your community by clicking on the Safety Day List located under the 2018 Safety Days tab. Want to make a safe investment? Help send another child to a Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® with a modest donation of only $13. Donate by texting the word “SAFETYDAY” to 41444 or visit progressiveag.org/Donate.

Photo: With 81% of Progressive Agriculture Safety Days® serving as official school events, school buses are the primary mode of transportation to locations like farms, fairgrounds, arenas and parks. Therefore, teaching children how they can stay safe on and around the bus is an ideal topic, like this event in Iowa.