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Back-To-School Safety Tips from CHOP Pediatric Care

As the summer concludes and parents start thinking about send their kids back to school, CHOP Pediatric Care at The Chester County Hospital wants to share some healthy tips to make the school year both successful and safe.

Tips for Parents

  • Have a contact sheet of the school's important phone numbers, including the school nurse.
  • Don't forget to apply sunscreen before leaving the house.
  • Teach your children how and when to wash their hands properly with soap and water to avoid the risk of spreading germs and viruses.

Bus and Walker Safety

  • Teach you child to wait for the school bus to come to a complete stop before leaving the curb to enter the bus.
  • When your child gets off the bus, make sure she looks both ways to avoid any on coming traffic.
  • If your child walks to school, make sure that you have rehearsed a safe and direct daily route that he can follow every day.

Backpack Selection

  • When purchasing a backpack, make sure the straps are padded. Encourage your child to use both straps, not just one, to avoid any kind of back pain.
  • Choose a backpack with compartments; it distributes the bag's weight more evenly.

Nutrition Ideas

  • Breakfast is the most important meal of the day so be sure to provide your child with healthy options in the morning before school. Fresh fruits are known to stimulate the brain.
  • Provide your child with a homemade lunch. Pre-boxed lunches are convenient; however, they are high in fat and sugar.
  • Follow the food pyramid when packing your child's lunch.
  • Make your own snacks at home. Homemade treats are lower in processed fats and sugar than snacks bought in the store.
  • Your child or others may have severe food allergies, specifically peanut allergies. Investigate how the school accommodates students with severe allergies, so that you are packing appropriate lunches.

Playground Tips

  • Teach your child proper recess rules: No pushing or hitting.
  • Remove all drawstrings on your child's sweatshirts or jackets; they can easily get caught in playground equipment and result in injury.
  • Prior to the school year beginning, examine the school's playground any sharp edges or tripping hazards. If you see something wrong, notify the school immediately.

Older Kids

  • For kids who take part in school sports, make sure you pack plenty of water to insure your child stays hydrated.
  • If your child has asthma, be sure the school nurse has an asthma action plan to follow while your child is at school.

Rest up

  • Children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old need 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night. Try to get your child to develop a regular sleep pattern, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Make their rooms dark and set the temperature at a comfortable level.
  • Teenagers need 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep impairs teenagers' ability to think creatively and to perform well in sports related activities.
  • Remove electronics from your child's room. They are known to be a distraction at bedtime.

Recalled Toys

  • Make sure that your child's school has a current list of all recalled toys. If not, ask the school to subscribe to free updates on toy recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Last Updated: 7/1/2010