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Thank you for subscribing to In Great Health, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with information to help you live a healthy lifestyle.  To learn more about what Avera can do to partner with you to improve your health, visit

To your health,

The Avera Staff


Each year, more than 300,000 children receive emergency care for bicycle injuries. Make sure you and your family take precautions against common injuries caused by bicycle accidents.

One of the most important precautions you can take as a bicycle rider is wearing a helmet, which protects from brain injuries if you are involved in an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets are 85 to 88 percent effective in preventing traumatic brain injuries. Always wear a helmet when you ride a bike. A bicycle shop or this website can provide more information on choosing a helmet with the correct fit. It's also important that a bicycle fits your frame.

Obey traffic laws just as you would when driving a car, such as stopping at red lights and following the speed limits and lane markings. If you have children, teach them the rules of the road. Additionally, wear reflective and light-colored clothing so drivers can see you better, and be alert and attentive while biking.

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As you plan your child's back-to-school supplies, don't forget to plan some time to review school bus safety with your child. Even if your child doesn't ride the school bus daily, most children will ride the bus to some school activities, so it's important to know some basic safety rules.

Tell Your Child:

Be ready for the bus. Arrive at the bus stop early. The bus driver may not see you running for the bus if you are late. Don't run and play while waiting, and wait in a safe place away from the road. Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop and the door is open before approaching the bus.

Listen to the bus driver and follow directions. The bus driver's instructions are for your safety.

Stay seated. Once you board the bus, sit down as soon as possible. Other students may be waiting to get on the bus. Sit upright on the seat with your backpack in your lap, and don't eat or drink on the bus.

Keep hands, arms and head inside the bus at all times. Because a bus is wider than a car, it gets close to trees and poles. You could be seriously injured if you have any part of your body outside the bus.

Cross the street safely. Take 10 giant steps in front of the bus before crossing in front of it. You should be able to see the driver's face. Wait for the driver's signal before crossing the road, but still look both ways before crossing.

Don't worry if you forget something. Never go back for something you left on the bus or dropped in the road. Ask an adult to help you.

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Notebooks, gym clothes, sack lunches and even laptop computers are a few items your child might be carrying in a backpack. Too much weight in your child's backpack, though, can cause neck, shoulder or back injuries.

A child's backpack should weigh no more than 15 percent of the child's body weight. A child weighing 70 pounds, for example, should carry no more than 10.5 pounds in a backpack. For an easy way to calculate the appropriate weight for your child's backpack, go to our handy calculator.

Wearing a backpack properly can reduce strain. A backpack should cover about three-fourths of your child's back. Make sure your child uses both shoulder straps, and keep the bag 2 inches above the waist. Backpacks with a strap that buckles at the waist also take some of the weight off of the shoulders. Padded, wide straps and a padded back can make a backpack more comfortable, too.

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In Great Health online archive.

In Great Health is one in a series of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers valuable information about health and wellness at Avera facilities. It is not intended to replace personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from a physician.