Back-To-School Safety

As summer draws to a close, back-to-school season is in full effect. Remember to safely share the roads with school buses, pedestrians and bicyclists, and provide children with the necessary knowledge to stay safe at school.
Whether children walk, ride their bicycle or take the bus to school, it is extremely important that they–and the motorists around them–take proper safety precautions​.
Cell Phone:
According to a study by SafeKids.org, 61 children are hit by cars every day in the United States, most often during the hours before and after school, and peaking in September. There has been a noticeable demographic shift. It’s now much more likely a teenager will be hit by a car than his younger counterpart, as teenagers are likely to be looking at their cell phone.
year-round safety tips:
• Never walk while texting/talking on the phone
• If texting, move out of the way of others and stop on the sidewalk
• Never cross the street while using an electronic device
• Do not walk with headphones on
• Be aware of the surroundings
• Always walk on the sidewalk if one is available; if a child must walk on the street, he or she should face oncoming traffic
• Look left, right, then left again before crossing the street
• Cross only at crosswalks
Not only kids are distracted:
Drivers have a lot to pay attention to in school zones, and there is never an occasion that justifies using a phone while driving. One call or text can change everything.
Back Packs:
When you move your child’s backpack, does it feel like it contains 40 pounds of rocks? Have you noticed your child struggling to put it on, bending forward while carrying it, or complaining of tingling or numbness? If you’ve been concerned about the effects that extra weight might have on your child’s still-growing body, your instincts are correct. When selecting a backpack, look for:
• An ergonomic design
• The correct size: never wider or longer than your child’s torso and never hanging more than 4 inches below the waist
• Padded back/shoulder straps; hip/chest belts to transfer some of the weight to hips and torso
• Multiple compartments to distribute weight
• Compression straps on the sides or bottom to stabilize the contents
• Reflective material
Remember: A roomy backpack may seem like a good idea, but the more space there is to fill, the more likely your child will fill it. Make sure your child uses both straps–using only one strap shifts the weight to one side and causes muscle pain and posture problems.
School Bus:
School buses are the safest way for students to travel. National Safety Council urges parents to teach their children the following safety rules for the school bus.
Getting on the Bus:
• When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and avoid roughhousing or other behavior that can lead to carelessness
• Do not stray onto the street, alleys or private property
• Line up away from the street or road
• Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before approaching the bus
• Use the handrail when boarding
Behavior on the Bus:
• If seat belts are available on the bus, buckle up
• Don’t distract the driver
• Stay in your seat; Wait for the bus to stop completely before getting up from your seat
• Don’t put your head, arms or hands out the window
• Keep aisles clear of books and bags
• Get your belongings together before reaching your stop
Getting Off the Bus:
• Use the handrail when exiting
• If you have to cross in front of the bus, first walk at least 10 feet ahead until you can see the driver; make sure the driver can see you
• Wait for a signal from the driver before crossing; when the driver signals, look left, right, then left again. Walk across the road and keep an eye out for sudden traffic changes
• If your vision is blocked, move to an area where you can see other drivers and they can see you
• Do not cross the center line of the road until the driver signals it is safe
• Stay away from the rear wheels of the bus
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Sources: National Safety Council, SafeKids.org