By Robert W. Seltzer
Another school year is upon us. Let’s make it a safe one!
The following safety tips will help do just that.
SCHOOL ZONE SAFETY
Be on the lookout for school zone signals and ALWAYS obey the speed limits.
When entering a school zone, be sure to slow down and obey all traffic laws.
Always stop for school busses that are loading or unloading children.
Watch out for school crossing guards and obey their signals.
RIDING A BICYCLE TO SCHOOL
Check with the school to make sure your child is allowed to ride their bicycle to school. Some schools do not allow students to ride bicycles to school until they reach a specific grade.
Make sure your child always wears a bicycle helmet!
Obey the rules of the road; the rules are the same for all vehicles, including bicycles.
Be sure your child knows and uses all of the appropriate hand signals.
Choose the safest route between home and school and practice it with children until they can demonstrate traffic safety awareness.
If possible, try to ride with someone else. There is safety in numbers.
WALKING TO SCHOOL
Leave early enough to arrive at school at least 10 minutes prior to the start of school.
Use the same route every day and never use shortcuts.
Go straight home after school. Do not go anywhere else without permission.
Always use public sidewalks and streets when walking to school.
Demonstrate traffic safety awareness and pick the safest route between your home and the school and practice walking it with your children.
Try and walk to school with other students. There is strength in numbers.
Teach your children to recognize and obey traffic signals, signs, and pavement markings.
Only cross streets at designated crosswalks, street corners and traffic controlled intersections.
Always look both ways before crossing the street and never enter streets from between obstacles like parked cars, shrubbery, signs, etc.
Always walk and never run across intersections.
Avoid talking to strangers. Teach your children to get distance between themselves and anyone who tries to approach or make contact with them.
If a stranger does approach your child, make sure they know to immediately report the incident to you or a teacher.
Teach your children to never get into a vehicle with anyone, even if they know them, without your permission.
To prevent injury, backpacks should have wide straps, padding in the back and shoulders, and should not weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of a child’s body weight.
When placing items in a backpack, place the heavier items in first. The closer the heavier items are to a child’s back, the less strain it will cause.
Children should use both backpack straps and all compartments for even distribution of weight.
Make habit of arriving at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled arrival of the bus.
Make sure your child stays out of the street and avoids excessive horseplay while waiting for the school bus.
Be sure the bus comes to a complete stop before getting on or off.
When riding the bus, make sure your child understands they must remain seated and keep their head and arms inside the bus at all times.
Do not shout or distract the driver.
STUDENTS DRIVING TO SCHOOL
If you’re a new driver given the freedom to commute to school every day, don’t take this responsibility lightly and follow these guidelines:
Stow your smartphone and any other distractions away. Throw them in the back seat if you have to.
Don’t carry passengers such as friends and siblings until you’re truly comfortable behind the wheel.
Wear your seat belt. It’s not only the law, but it can also save your life.