Health & Safety

August 23, 2012

Back to school tips for parents

Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez
Air Combat Command Public Affairs

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. — As summer ends, the time for heading back to school begins; whether it is a child’s first year of school or a senior’s last, there are potential dangers lurking around every corner.

Fortunately, ACC Safety is here providing simple reminders on keeping school-age children safe.

“It is important for parents to stay up-to-date on the proper safety precautions, be proactive and take the time to talk about safety with their kids before they head back to school,” said Master Sgt. Sean Rouillier, ACC Ground Safety Operations manager and father of two.

Whether the school day begins on a bus, bicycle or on foot, Rouillier has transportation tips for parents to keep in mind.

“Whatever your children’s mode of transportation may be, please emphasize to them that they must take proper safety precautions at all times,” he said.

For children walking or riding a bike to school, it is important to map out a safe route with the least amount of traffic crossings possible and ensure children cross only at intersections with a crossing guard. Also, explain the “rules of the road” such as obeying traffic signs, lights, and completely stopping before crossing the street. In addition, wearing a helmet and bright colors, and staying on the sidewalk is vital when riding a bike.

Additionally, if a child rides the school bus, it is important to know where the designated drop-off and pick up areas are. Children should wait for the bus to stop completely before getting on or off it. Staying seated while the bus is in motion and avoiding crossing the front of a bus can help prevent accidental injuries.

Transportation is not the only thing on the minds of parents during school season.

“Pretty much what most parents worry about are bullies, fighting and drugs,” Rouillier said.

Since most parents cannot be by the side of their children throughout the school day, it is important to educate them on the possible dangers they may face.

“I try not to worry too much about the unknown or what might happen. I talk to my boys about my fear of what they might be exposed to in school, and what to do if faced with drugs or bullies,” Rouillier said. “Just give as much support to your children as possible.

Be safe, but not too overprotective, especially in front of classmates who might pick on them for it.”

He admits he was a little overprotective and worried when his kids were heading off to school for the first time. However, after getting to know the school staff and realizing how safe and structured their school program was, he quickly got over it.

“Every school has programs, schedules, and plenty of supervision for their child to have a safe, healthy and enjoyable atmosphere,” he said.




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