Back-to-school time is upon us. Some families in South Jersey found themselves with an empty nest for the first time ever as their children packed up and went off to college to start the school year. Others are gearing up for another year at one of our local schools. 

My wife and I are on our own again as my son, Josh happily took off for his third year at Rowan University. Josh looks thrilled to be leaving and Josie, our dog, looks heart-broken knowing her buddy is almost out the door and won't be back until the end of the school year. Soon it will be back-to-school for all students in South Jersey as the last few days of summer vacation pass us by.

Whether your kids are off at college or moving up to the next grade, here are a few ways from the National Safety Council to keep your kids safe this year:

Backpack Safety: Don't over stuff  your child's backpack. Make sure it weighs no more than 10 to 20% of your child’s body weight. The backpack should consist of reflective material.

School Bus Safety Tips: When waiting for the bus stay away from traffic, don't stray onto the street, alleys or private property. Stay away from the street or road when the bus arrives. Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before boarding. Make sure the driver can see you and walk at least 10 feet ahead of you if you have to cross in front of the bus. Wait until the drivers tells you or gives you a signal before crossing.

While on the bus never put your head, arms or hands out the window. Buckle up and stay in your seat. Make sure the bus comes to a complete stop before getting up from your seat.

Walking to School:  Be sure to walk on the sidewalk, if you're on a street with no sidewalk, make sure you face traffic while walking. Always stop and look left, right, and left again to see if cars are coming before you cross. Never dart out in front or any parked cars. Make sure your child knows the rules of the road and always wear a helmet at all times if your child is riding a bike to school.


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