- Make sure the athlete is physically and mentally “in shape”: Parents and coaches should determine whether their children are physically and psychologically conditioned for the sport level they are playing.
- Be educated about heat-related illnesses: Athletes should be knowledgeable about warning signs and effects of heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Providing sufficient fluids during practices and games, as well as allowing rest for players, is vital for preventing illness and injuries. Any athlete experiencing symptoms should be encouraged to report them to the coach and athletic trainer immediately. Be sure athletes start practice fully hydrated with water or a sports drink.
- Eat and drink to win: This includes a balanced and healthy diet. Without proper nutrition and hydration, young athletes will feel sluggish, which can increase their chance of injury.
- Play head-smart, not head-strong: Athletes and parents should be well educated on the risks and warning signs of concussion. If you suspect a concussion, seek medical assistance immediately. And, when in doubt, sit it out—one game or play isn’t worth a lifetime of concussion-related health issues.
If you’ve been concerned about the effects that extra weight might have on your child’s still-growing body, your instincts are correct. Backpacks that are too heavy can cause a lot of problems for kids, like back and shoulder pain, and poor posture
When selecting a backpack, look for:
- An ergonomic design
- The correct size: never wider or longer than your child’s torso and never hanging more than 4 inches below the waist
- Padded back and shoulder straps
- Hip and chest belts to help transfer some of the weight to the hips and torso
- Multiple compartments to better distribute the weight
- Compression straps on the sides or bottom to stabilize the contents
- Reflective material
Dropping off Students
Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids. More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. The following apply to all school zones:
- Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
- Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school
- Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school
Sharing the Road with School Buses
If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks
Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians
According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they’re walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:
Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic
In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection
Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign
Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas
Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way
Sharing the Road with Bicyclists
On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.
When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass
If you’re turning right and a bicyclist is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals
Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this
Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods
Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars
Check side mirrors before opening your door
By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist in school zones
Safe Teen Driving
Laws Aren’t Enough – But Household Rules Can Come Close
National Safety Council Teen Driving Tips
No state has laws strong enough to fully protect new teen drivers. Household rules about passengers, nighttime driving and cell phone use can fill gaps in state laws. A New Driver Deal outlines these rules. Learn more at the National Safety Council website.
Teens Crash Because They Are Inexperienced Drivers
Contrary to popular belief, teens crash most often because they are inexperienced. They struggle judging gaps in traffic, driving the right speed for conditions and turning safely, among other things. Learn more.
National Teen Driver Safety Week
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Sponsors Teen Driver Safety Week each year in October. Parents are the biggest influencers on their teen drivers, even if you think they aren’t listening.
NHTSA reminds parents to set the rules before they hit the road with “5 to Drive”:
No cell phones while driving
No extra passengers
No driving or riding without a seat belt