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Safety To and From School

It’s that time of the year again and with all of the hustle and bustle of shopping for supplies and new school clothes, we may forget to discuss safety with our children.  Specifically, a safe course of action in regards to getting to and from school.  Whether your child rides the bus or their bike, or simply walks a short distance, this is one conversation that needs to be had.

It’s important to take the time to discuss with your children how to be safe on their way to and from school and to make them aware of the possible dangers around them.  Take a day or two to walk the route with your child before classes begin to ensure they know exactly where to go and what to do along the way.  This will give you the opportunity to answer any questions they may have and to see the route for yourself and any hazards that they may run into.  The National Safety Council offers some helpful tips to discuss with your children as they start the new school year.

Walking To School – Walk the route with your child before school begins.

  • If possible, walk with a group and at least one adult, especially if the child is 10 or younger.
  • Use the sidewalk, if one in not available, walk facing traffic.
  • The safest place to cross is at a corner or intersection, but before crossing stop and look left-right-left.  Walk, don’t run – drivers will not be prepared to stop safely if a child runs out in front of them.  Also, don’t walk out in front of a parked car, an oncoming driver will not a see a child until it’s too late.

Riding A Bicycle – Make sure to go over the rules of the road to ensure your child’s safety.

  • Always wear a helmet and make sure it fits properly.  Also, wear bright colors to be seen easily.
  • Wait for a driver’s signal before crossing the street.  Be sure to come to a complete stop at all stop signs and lights.
  • Ride on the right side of the road or trail in a single file line in the same direction as other vehicles.
  • If your child must ride at night, be sure to have a white light on the front of the bicycle and a red reflector on the back.  You can also put reflective materials on shoes, clothing, and backpacks.
  • Be sure that your child feels comfortable on a bicycle.  The more skilled they are, the less likely they will crash.  Have them practice riding in a straight line, looking over their shoulder, signaling with their hands, and starting/stopping.

School Bus Safety – When your child is at the bus stop, they need to be aware of the safe way to approach and exit the school bus.

  • When the bus arrives, make sure to stand 3 giant steps (6 ft) away from the curb.  Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before approaching.
  • If you have to cross the street to board the bus, walk 5 giant steps (10 ft) in front of the bus.  The bus driver needs to be able to see the child clearly at all times.  Never walk behind the bus.
  • Before crossing the street, wait for the bus driver to signal that it’s safe to cross the center line.  Tell your child to still look left-right-left before crossing the streets center line even after the bus driver gives the safe signal.  No one can predict when traffic may suddenly change.
  • Always stay away from the buses wheels.  If you need to pick up something, let the bus driver know first so that they are aware of what’s happening.

All of these safety tips are easy follow and important to remember.  By taking some time with your children to go over the why’s and how’s, it will go a long way in establishing safe habits and practices that will stay with them throughout the school year.