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Preparing for back to school involves more than shopping for school supplies and new clothes. Caring for their health and safety will ensure they are physically prepared to go back to school. To kick-start the school year, consider the tips below.

Backpack Safety

Backpacks are a popular and practical way to carry school books and supplies. They are designed to distribute the weight of the load amongst some of the body’s strongest muscles. When used correctly, backpacks can be a great way to carry the necessities of the school day. When used incorrectly, however, they can cause physical problems to those carrying them. To avoid backpack-related issues: 

  • Choose the right backpack. Make sure it is the right size for the individual, has two padded shoulder straps, and is lightweight. 
  • Always use both shoulder straps when carrying the backpack. 
  • Tighten the straps to keep the load closer to the back. 
  • Pack light and carry only the items required for that day. 
  • Lift properly by bending at the knees when picking up a backpack. 

Playground Safety

If you have younger children headed back to school, the schoolyard playground will most likely be a large part of their day. Although you won’t be there to watch them, there are a few things you can teach them now to prepare them for days on the playground. 

  • Use all the equipment properly and avoid overly crowded areas. 
  • Be extra careful near swings and make sure not to walk in front of or behind swinging children. 
  • Hydrate often, bring your personal water bottle out to recess and breaks with you. Children often get distracted and forget to hydrate their bodies. 
  • While running around, watch out for anything you may trip over. 
  • Play nice with other students. If issues arise, walk away or tell an adult. 
  • If you get hurt, tell an adult immediately!

Sports Safety 

With moderation and proper participation, sports are a great way for children to stay active, meet new friends, and learn to work together. 

  • See a doctor for a sports physical. 
  • Slowly work into the sport. 
  • Make sure equipment fits properly and is used for its intended purpose. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids. 
  • Eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep. 
  • Don’t overdo it. Make sure to take at least one day off a week to rest. 

Hygiene 

Teaching your children good hygiene at home is a great way to instill habits that will transfer to the classroom. 

  • Keep hands clean by washing them often and thoroughly with soap and water. 
  • Avoid sharing eating and drinking utensils. 
  • Report any cuts or wounds to an adult and keep those cuts or other wounds covered with clean, dry bandages. 
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and stay home from school when sick.

COVID-19

As announced by Governor Kate Brown, the State of Oregon is mandating that students and staff in K-12 schools wear masks indoors come fall, to limit the spread of the COVID1-9 delta variant. With many children still ineligible to be vaccinated, masks are an effective way to keep the children safe in the classroom. Encouraging your children to wear their masks now will make it easier for them to do so when school begins. 

Sending your children back to school may cause stress and although you can’t keep an eye on your child at school all day long, you can encourage healthy and safe habits starting now! 

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