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Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 7:42am
(CNN) — The most crucial hours of the school day can be after the bell rings. As kids make their way home from school or to sports and activities, safety should be a priority.
When the bell rings and school lets out kids head in all different directions. For many, it's the school bus, for others, walking home or the sports fields.
Each of those options can present its own risks. Kate Carr of Safe Kids Worldwide urges parents to talk to their kids about after school safety reminders as the school year begins.
"They're excited to be back to school and we want to be sure that they're safe when they're walking to and from school," said Carr.
On the streets, students aren't the only ones adjusting to the back-to-school routine. Drivers are djusting to seeing school buses again and more kids in crosswalks.
Students should stay on sidewalks and avoid digital distractions like mobile phones when walking. For those riding the school bus, stay seated with head and arms inside the bus at all times.
If students are heading from the classroom to the athletic fields, have a pre-season discussion about health and safety. Proper warmups and stretching are crucial. Don't skip it, even if running late. If missing any protective gear, tell a coach. Don't skip safety, and speak up if something doesn't feel right.
"We have to make sure they understand that staying in the game could result in a long term injury that will take them out of their favorite sport not only during their career when they're young athletes, but perhaps a lifetime of enjoyment," said Carr.
That means flagging a coach in case of injury, even if it means sitting out for a bit.