School safety at every age

Rene Hopkins
Written by Rene Hopkins

From grade school through college

As a new school year begins, parents and children should take steps to help ensure safe and enjoyable school days. Safe Kids Greater Augusta, supported by the Children’s Hospital of Georgia, offers these age-appropriate safety tips for parents to discuss with their children.

Tips for Grade-schoolers

  • Use proper bus etiquette, including staying seated until the bus stops and always walking in front of, never behind, the bus. Have your child practice looking both ways before crossing the street
  • Ensure your local or school playground takes adequate precautions to prevent and/or minimize falls, including safety mats or padded surfaces.

Tips for Teens

  • To prevent sports injuries, encourage your teen to use the right protective gear for his or her sport, to warm up before playing, to rest when tired and to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Buy a quality backpack with padding and wide shoulder straps. A full backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of your child’s body weight. Your teen should also carry the backpack over both shoulders to evenly distribute the weight.

Tips for College Students

  • College students should be aware of their surroundings and take the necessary precautions, such as traveling with a group and avoiding compromising situations to ensure their personal safety.
  • Students should keep their belongings safe by locking dorm rooms and windows and never leaving backpacks, purses, laptops, cell phones, etc. unattended.
  • Don’t be a “pedtextrian.” Texting, listening to music and other distractions leads to distracted pedestrian behavior, and college-age students are at highest risk.

Make Safety a Priority
Safe Kids Greater Augusta is the area’s resource for child accident prevention tips, checklists and more. Call 706-721-7606 or visit

About the author

Rene Hopkins

Rene Hopkins

A registered nurse educator, Rene Hopkins is responsible for establishing and maintaining childhood injury prevention programs through grant writing, research and data collection, community partnerships, education, legislation advocacy, and distribution of safety equipment. She coordinates more than a dozen monthly Safe Kids programs in the Greater Augusta area to educate parents and caregivers, including Safe Sitter, Car Seat Classes, Youth Firesetters Prevention Intervention, and Cribs for Kids.