It's back to school time. Children across the country will be getting to class on foot, by bike, in cars, and on the school bus. According to the CDC, 70,000 pedestrians were injured in 2010, with a large percentage of children in the mix. In 2011, over 170,000 children were injured in traffic-related incidents and motor vehicle accidents continue to be the leading cause of death in children. Take the time to teach your children about street and sidewalk safety.
Walking to School
- Take a practice run of your child's route to school. Keep your eye out for hazards including railroad crossings, and talk to your child about how to approach these harzards.
- Teach your child about crosswalks and make sure she knows to only cross the street when it is safe. This includes looking both ways, waiting for the walk sign, and waiting for the crossing guard.
- Older children should walk to school with a buddy and younger children should have a parent walk with them. According to the National Safety Council, children under 10 should always be accompanied by an adult.
- Stay on the sidewalk.
- Avoid strangers and keep walking.
- If a car is following, children need to turn around and run in the other direction back to a trusted adult or school.
- Teach children not to run from a dog. They need to try and stay calm, tell the dog to go home, and walk away slowly.
- Demonstrate for children how to be cautious around parked vehicles. They shouldn't step out from behind parked cars since oncoming traffic won't see them.
Biking to School
- Always wear your bike helmet.
- Stop at all streets to look both ways and listen to check for traffic, and wait for the crossing guard or walk sign before crossing the street.
- Teach children correct hand signals for bikers.
- Always ride on the right side of the road with the direction of traffic.
Riding the Bus
- Stay on the sidewalk, on the grass, or in your driveway while waiting for the bus. The NSC recommends standing 6 feet away from the edge of the curb.
- Do not approach the school bus until it has completely stopped and the door has been opened.
- Before crossing the street to get on the bus, look both ways and wait for the OK from the bus driver. The same goes when exiting the bus. Walk about 10 feet in front of the bus so the driver can see you clearly.
- Never stop to pick up anything you drop in the street.
- Stay seated while on the bus.
- Keep your hands, arms, and head inside the windows.
Driving Your Child
- Leave plenty of time for you to get your child to school.
- Take extra precaution at crosswalks and stop signs to ensure no children are crossing in front of you or to the side if you are turning.
- Give children the right of way at crosswalks.
- Avoid moving your car in reverse on school grounds.
- Make sure your child and any child with you is safely on school grounds before driving away.
- Obey all speed limits and traffic laws.
Keeping kids safe is a full time job. Make sure you are always on alert when getting your child to school, take the time to ensure your child arrives safely and to teach her the rules of the road.