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Red Cross Offers Back to School Safety Tips

Kids are heading back to school and the American Red Cross would like to remind parents of some simple measures they can take to keep children safe this fall on the bus, on a bike, or in a car. 

“Small details make a big difference, we want parents to be aware that talking to their kids can make a huge difference,” said Martha Carlos, Chief Communications Officer, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “Now is an important time to refresh and go over some of the safety basics with your kids to make sure they have a fun, safe, school year.” 

Here are some safety tips from when traveling between school and home: 

1. Bus Safety 

• Plan to be at the bus stop early. 

• Stand away from the curb while waiting for the bus; line up facing the bus, not alongside it. 

• Board the bus only after it has come to a complete stop 

• Stay in clear view of the bus driver; never walk behind the bus and never play in the street. 

• Never reach under the school bus to get anything that has rolled or fallen beneath it. 

• After getting off the bus, move immediately onto the sidewalk and out of traffic. 

• Walk at least 10 steps away from the front of the bus so the driver can see you. 

• Wait for a signal from the bus driver before crossing the street. 

2. Bike Safety 

• Always wear a helmet. 

• Have reflective gear on the bicycle and, if possible, wear reflective colors and material to be more visible. 

• Obey all traffic signs. 

• Ride on the right in the same direction as traffic. 

• Avoid loose clothing that could get caught in spokes or pedals or restrict movement. 

• Walk your bicycle across all intersections. 

3. If your teenager drives to school, give them these tips. 

• Make sure you know what route they are taking to get to school; allow plenty of time so they won’t rush. 

• Remind them to watch for children and to be careful around school buses. 

• Wear a seatbelt and no phone while driving. 

More Tips for Parents 

• Talk with your children about safety before school starts. 

• Make sure your child knows his/her home phone number and address. 

• Visit your child’s bus stop before school starts to show him or her where to stand while waiting. 

• Teach your children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know. 

• When walking your child to school, cross the street only at intersections and use a route along which the school has placed crossing guards. 

Disasters and emergencies can happen at any time. It’s important to be prepared in case one occurs while your child is in school. 

• When the new school year begins, talk to your child’s teacher about the school’s emergency plan. 

• Remind your child that the most important thing they can do if an emergency happens at school is to stay calm and listen to the direction of their teachers or principal. 

• Tape a copy of your family’s contact numbers and meeting place(s) to the inside of your child’s binder or homework notebook and in their book bag. 

Back To School Tips for Device Owners (Cell Phones & Tablets) 

• Use password protection on all personal electronic devices. 

• Never leave your personal device unattended, especially in public areas. 

• Do not share passwords with friends that could give them access to your social network accounts. 

• Avoid saving or sending personal pictures of yourself or someone. Once online, always online. 

• If using someone else’s computer make sure you log off all your accounts when finished. 

• Familiarize yourself and enable applications for locating lost/stolen devices. 

About the American Red Cross 

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross