As the cold season creeps up on us, parents all around the country are getting back into the routine of the school run, the homework sessions and, of course, the general worries of leaving your children for the day.

Although at the forefront of your mind might be on getting your child to school on time, ironing the uniform properly or even just wondering where on earth they left their other shoe, health and safety needs to play a part. The nights are growing darker, the temperature is rapidly dropping which means dangers are becoming more prominent.

We’d like to take this time to inform you of the things you should be considering before sending your children plodding off to school.

  1. Travel Route – to avoid getting lost

This point is more aimed to those who allow their children to walk on their own or maybe with a select group of friends. If this is the situation you are in, then we recommend walking this route with them a few times with your child before you are fully comfortable they know where all the safe places to cross the road are, and where to avoid.

If there is a main road you are worried about, you could walk your child half the journey (to accompany them across the main road) or speak to the school about a walking bus in the local area.

  1. Teach Your Child Road Rules – to learn how roads work so they can cross safely

A lot of the time, we’re told how to cross a road, but not why we have to do all the checks which can be hard to remember. Whilst stop, look and listen is a great thing to remember, it can be beneficial to teach your children how cars should act on the road so they can better judge when and where it’s safe to cross.

One of the best ways to teach children how to cross the road is by teaching them road rules. You can teach them:

  • Pressing the button and waiting for the green man to appear when the cars have stopped.
  • Cars will stop at zebra crossings if they see someone trying to cross but it is important to check that the cars have stopped first especially if the approach to the zebra crossing has poor visibility and a driver may not notice you until the last minute
  • High vis on their clothing will make them visible to cars
  • Look both ways before attempting to cross.
  1. Teach your child about Bullying – to protect mental health

Knowledge is power. In some circumstances, some children can bully or torment others without even realising what they are doing. Or equally, your child could be being bullied and not know what to do.

It’s important to understand that mental health issues can effect a child’s life just as much as it can an adult. Good things to cover off with your child before they go back to school is:

  • What to do if someone upsets them
  • If you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say it
  • The consequences of not behaving/ bullying
  • How to confront a bully
  • How to resolve an argument
  • Cyber bullying – what it is and the correct ways to tackle it
  • And finally if your children are older – Sexting. What it is and the consequences or doing it.

For extra help, use the sources below from the NSPCC:

Information about Sexting

Staying safe from Cyber Bullying

Reporting the bully

  1. Appropriate footwear – to stop the risk of foot injury

Studies show that more than a quarter of British children are wearing shoes that could be damaging their feet. Not only is this opening up the likely hood of getting blisters, bruising and calluses, but it is creating a major trip hazard – particularly for those where their shoes are too big.

I’m sure by now, most parents are at their wit’s end trying to find their children the appropriate footwear that not only takes the fancy of the child themselves but also comply with school rules.

However, it is important to make sure your children are wearing the correct school shoes to ensure comfort and safety.

When buying school shoes, be sure to consider size (getting your children’s feet measured properly is paramount), support, material, heel height and toe area. Also, don’t forget to consider shoe wear for a potentially icy commute to school and back.

  1. Wear safety gear when needed – to reduce the impact of any potential accident

Many children opt to ride bikes, scooters and skateboards to school these days because not only is it quicker, but it’s fun and active – particularly with friends. This type of commute is very much recommended in terms of living a healthy lifestyle, however, it does come with more risks.

Before your child heads out, ensure that not only are they wearing a helmet, but it is fitted correctly. Look here to see how to fit a helmet correctly.

Other things that are great to consider are elbow pads, kneepads and gloves. Whilst not as life-saving as helmets, they are still great at reducing the impact of an injury.

  1. Wearing the appropriate school bag – to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal problems

In the excitement of getting all new stuff ready for the back to school period, it can be easy to over pack your bag with lots of heavy items (particularly with PE kits and other subjects involving extra gear) and then carry it all on one shoulder. This can cause issues around back pain and even musculoskeletal problems.

Back packs are better than shoulder bags as it distributes the weight between your back and shoulders. It is also beneficial to encourage your child you use school lockers or become more organised at home the night before to avoid carrying round items they don’t need on that day.

  1. Stranger Danger

It is crucial to teach your child about the term ‘stranger danger’ that involves everything from not talking to strangers, to not accepting lifts from people claiming to be relatives.

Make sure your child understands not to accept lifts or walk with strangers (even if the person says your parents have sent them). A great trick a lot of parents use is passwords.

By using pre-agreed passwords, your child can be reassured that the person talking to them or picking them up is safe and sent by their parents.

Stay Safe in the Classroom

School should be a place where children feel safe. Here at Sureteam we offer a variety of courses to ensure that any industry, including schools, work safely and comply with health and safety rules. If you’d like to outsource your health and safety to the experts to ensure you’re legally covered, get in touch with Sureteam on 01666 503686.