Back-to-school safety tips for kids

Most West Michigan kids are already back in school, or will be soon, and we want to make sure your kids stay safe when you send them off.

Jennifer Hoekstra, Injury Prevention Specialist at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, shares some safety tips that kids and parents should keep in mind during the school year.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Walk on sidewalks and cross the street at corners using crosswalks.
  • Never cross the street between parked cars.
  • Look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
  • Obey the Safety or Crossing Guard – make sure they say it is safe for you to cross the street.
  • Put down phones and devices when crossing the street and pay attention.
  • Add reflective material to your backpack or shoes so drivers can see you better.
  • Pick a safe route to school if you are walking to school.

Bus Safety

  • When waiting for the bus:
    • Stay a safe distance from the roadway.
    • No pushing or horseplay.
    • When the bus arrives stay away from the wheels.
  • When crossing in front of the bus:
    • Walk at least three giant steps from the side of the bus.
    • Walk on the sidewalk or side of the road taking 10 giant steps ahead of the bus.
    • Look at the driver for a signal to cross.
    • Stop at the edge of the bus and look left, right and left again before you cross.
    • Keep watching traffic as you walk.
  • On the bus:
    • Follow the bus drivers rules.
    • Remain seated until the bus comes to a complete stop.
    • Use indoor voices so you don’t distract the driver.

Car Pool Safety

  • Everyone in the car must ride safely.
  • Use the proper car seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
  • As the driver, remain aware and undistracted in school zones.
  • Respect the traffic patterns laid out by the school for drop off and pick up.

Playground Safety

  • Feet first on the slide.
  • One at a time on the slide.
  • Be aware of the swings: stay back from the area if you are not on the swings.
  • Have protective surfaces on the playground (energy-absorbing materials): shredded rubber, wood chips, wood fiber and sand.
  • Use playground balls in designated areas.

For more helpful safety tips, visit or call (616)-391-7233.

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