Safety Tips for Back to School

With Summer ending and the start of another school year right around the corner, we want to offer some basic back to school safety tips for drivers and students.

In the next few weeks, school will begin and school buses, young drivers, and pedestrians will soon be making early morning commutes throughout the city, to bus stops and the college.

It’s not a bad idea to review some basic safety rules with young children, teens and young adults.

*Walk on the sidewalk, if one is available. When on a street with no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
*Before you cross the street, stop and look left, right and left again to see if cars are coming.
*Never dart out in front of a parked car.
*Be aware of cars that are turning or backing up.
*Cross streets at crosswalks.

Riding the bus to school:
*Go to the bus stop with your child to teach them the proper way to get on and off the bus. If you haven’t met, be sure to introduce yourself and your child to the bus driver on the first day of school. This way, your child will be sure to get on the right bus to come home at the end of the day.
*Stay a safe distance from the street (6 ft. away or 3 giant steps from the curb) and don’t play around while waiting for the bus.
*If your child needs to cross the street in front of the bus, walk 10 feet in front of the bus. You should always be able to see the bus driver, and the bus driver always should be able to see you.
*Pay attention to your surroundings; listening to your music player or other electronic device provides distraction and potential injury.
*Wait for the bus to stop completely before moving towards it to get on, or before you stand up to get off.
*Find a seat and sit down as soon as you get on.
*Don’t put arms or anything out the windows.
*Stay away from the bus wheels at all times – the driver cannot see you.
*Be courteous and respectful to your driver.

Backpack Safety:
*Choose a backpack that is the correct size: never wider or longer than your child’s torso and never hanging more than 4 inches below the waist. Multiple compartments help distribute the weight and padded straps avoid shoulder pain. Also look for reflective material or strips of reflective material.
*Ask your child to use both straps when wearing the backpack to evenly distribute the weight on their shoulders.
*Don’t overstuff a backpack; it should weigh no more than 10-20% of your child’s body weight.
Example: A child that weight 60 lbs. should carry a backpack no heavier than 12 lbs.
*Help your child to determine what is absolutely necessary to carry. If it’s not essential, leave it at home.

Safe Riding in a Car:
*Always wear your seatbelt and buckle up as soon as you get in the car.
*Never share a seatbelt.
*Be aware of the new laws regarding child safety seats:
Any child under 40 inches tall must be in a child or infant seat.
Any child who is younger than 8 and 40-57 inches tall must be secured in a booster seat.
All children over 8 years of age or over 57 inches tall must be secured in a seat belt.
*Children under 12 should ride in the back seat. Never let them sit in the front seat of a car that has air bags.

Teen Drivers:
No state laws are strong enough to fully protect teen drivers. Household rules about passengers, nighttime driving and cell phone use can fill gaps in state laws. Teens crash most often because they are inexperienced. Statistics show they tend to mis-judge gaps in traffic, fail to drive the right speed for conditions and turning safely and struggle with distracted driving.

Distracted Walking:
With more children and teenagers owning digital devices, it is important that they consider safety. Findings from a study conducted in 2011 show a total of 1152 people of all ages were treated in hospital emergency rooms in the United States for injuries sustained while walking and using a cell phone or other electronic device. According to statistics, 61 children are hit by cars every day in the United States. Many of these tragedies can be avoided with basic safety practices.
*Do not walk, talk, drive and text.
*If you have to talk or text, move out of the way of others and to the side of the walkway or road.
*Do not walk with headphones in your ears or drive with cell phones in your view.

These are all reminders we hope you found helpful in getting your family ready for the new school year. We all want your children to arrive to school and back home safely.