As summer draws to a close, it's time for students in Ontario to prepare for the upcoming school year. Along with new teachers, classmates, and subjects, it's important to prioritize safety as you head back to school. Whether you're walking, cycling, or taking public transportation, here are some essential safety tips for students and parents to keep in mind.
1. Plan Your Route
Before the first day of school, plan your route to and from school. Identify safe pathways, crosswalks, and traffic signals along the way. Familiarize yourself with any potential hazards or construction zones to avoid surprises. If possible, try walking or biking the route prior to school starting to ensure you're comfortable and aware of any potential challenges.
2. Always Use Sidewalks and Crosswalks
When walking or biking to school, always use sidewalks and crosswalks whenever available. Walking on the road can put you at risk of accidents. If you have to walk on the road, walk facing traffic and stay as far to the side as possible. When crossing the street, wait for a clear signal, and never dart out between stopped or parked cars.
3. Practice Safe Cycling
If you're cycling to school, make sure to wear a properly fitted helmet and follow the rules of the road. Ride in designated bike lanes when available, and always signal your turns. Maintain a safe distance from parked cars to avoid opening doors, and watch out for pedestrians and for vehicles exiting driveways. Remember, visibility is key, so wear bright clothing and use lights and reflectors as needed.
4. Be Aware of Public Transportation Safety
For those who take the bus or street car, exercise caution while waiting at the stop. Stand at least three giant steps away from the curb and avoid playing near the road. When boarding or exiting the vehicle, wait for it to come to a complete stop before doing so. If you need to cross the road in front of the vehicle, make eye contact with the driver and to ensure that he or she sees you before crossing. When taking the TTC subway, be alert to your surroundings whether in the stations or in subway cars, and always stand a safe distance away from the tracks while waiting for the subway train.
5. Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions
Whether walking, cycling, or taking the bus or street car, it's important to stay focused and avoid distractions. Keep your eyes and ears open, so you're aware of your surroundings. Avoid using headphones or ear buds, or looking at your phone, while on the road. Being attentive to surrounding traffic and other potential hazards is crucial for your safety.
6. Teach Your Children About Stranger Danger
Parents play a vital role in ensuring their children's safety. Teach your children about stranger danger, emphasizing the importance of never accepting rides, gifts, or unwanted assistance from strangers. Establish a safe word or code for emergencies, and encourage them to always report any suspicious incidents to a trusted adult.
7. Encourage Open Communication
Maintaining open communication with your children is essential for their safety. Encourage them to share any concerns or incidents they experience while traveling to and from school. Create a safe space where they feel comfortable discussing anything that makes them feel uneasy or unsafe.
8. Review Emergency Protocols
Ensure that both students and parents are familiar with the school's emergency protocols. Review procedures for fire drills, lockdowns, and other safety measures. Knowing what to do in an emergency can help everyone stay calm and respond appropriately.
By following these back-to-school safety tips, students and parents in Ontario can start the school year with peace of mind. Remember, safety should always be a top priority. Stay alert, be cautious, and have a fantastic school year!
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.