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Columbus, Ohio

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Filtering by Category: going to school

Weigh your child's backpack

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We're at the start of a new school year, so it's time to take a good look at your child's backpack. Kids stuff all kinds of things into their backpacks: textbooks, notebooks, lunch, water bottles, sports equipment, headphones, laptops, who knows what else. As all that stuff piles up, so does the weight, but kids really shouldn't be carrying more than 10-15% of their body weight. Weigh your child's backpack to make sure a typical load isn't putting too much strain on those young shoulders.

Check out this article and infographic about heavy backpacks, and here's a handy chart to help you figure out how much weight your kid can safely carry.


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Make safety a habit all year long

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Little steps can add up to big impact. Taking a few minutes every week to think about safety is a habit worth creating.


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Take off your child's coat BEFORE buckling them into a car safety seat.

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Cold weather has set in across the country, which means coats and snowsuits for everyone. All that extra padding, though, makes your child's car seat a little less effective, so take off your child's coat before buckling him up.

(Wondering why this matters or whether your child will be cold? Start with this story from


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Talk to your teen about "5 to Drive"

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Car crashes are the #1 cause of death for our country’s teenagers. The “5 to Drive” campaign takes on some of the biggest risk factors for teen drivers, such as distracted driving, extra passengers, and speeding. Click here to learn more about the program, and then talk to your teen about following the rules of the road.


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Give your school’s playground a safety checkup

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Kids all over the country are heading back to school, which means more kids running, jumping, and climbing on your local playground. Before the summer turns into fall, take a few minutes to do a quick check-up on the playground’s surfacing, equipment, and general safety using this top-10 list from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

If you see safety issues, report them to your local parks department, school district, or other organization that maintains the playground. Don’t have a playground or looking to update it? Start with this complete guide to playground planning and safety from Kaboom!.


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Find a safe route to school and practice the trip with your child

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Walking, riding, rolling, or busing? No matter how your child gets to school, safety is always a top concern. Before the start of the new school year, take some time to figure out the safest way for your children to get to and from school or the bus stop--and then practice the trip with them. Point out any safety hazards, like busy intersections and distracted walking.

Bonus: You can use these checklists to identify safety issues in your community, and then let school and elected officials know how they can create safer routes to school for everyone.


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Jump with joy! Stay safe in inflatable bouncers

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Your child may be tugging at your hand, pulling you towards the bounce house at your local festival or fair or even in your neighbor's back yard, but do a little safety check before taking off her shoes and letting her bounce to her heart's delight:

Only let your child jump alone or with children of her own size and age.

Watch your child and enforce rules, such as no flips, somersaults, or rough play.

Trust your instincts. You know when something just isn't right. Look at the way the bounce house is secured to the ground, weather conditions, and the professionalism of the staff. If the house doesn't seem secure, it's windy or raining, or the staff doesn't seem to have control of the kids jumping, then trust your instinct and find another activity.

More tips to safely use inflatable bounce houses can be found here.


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Check the expiration dates on your EpiPens

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Children who are allergic to insect bites and stings should always have an EpiPen nearby – especially outside. The pens usually expire about a year after you buy them.

“EpiPen” is the most well-known brand of self-shot that helps people with the allergic reactions, but the shots also go by the names Adrenaclick, Auvi-Q, and Epinephrine Injection. All of them can expire, and parents don’t always realize that until it is too late.