It’s that time of year again: back-to-school season! And that means early morning traffic has increased for those headed off to work each day.
Knowing this, and the risk increase posed to children can give parents an extra dose of anxiety. Thankfully, there are ways parents can protect their children from bus accidents, car accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents during the school months.
Back-to-School Bus Safety
Although accidents on school buses are relatively rare, children have an elevated risk of injury when they must cross in front of the bus.
Unfortunately, not all cars abide by the law, which is to stop when the bus signals them to do so. To protect your children, teach them to only cross in front of the bus when necessary. Children should walk at least ten steps in front of the driver – or only when they can see the bus driver in their seat.
Furthermore, children should never pass behind the bus.
Back-to-School Bicycle Safety
Children who ride a bike to school should never do so without a helmet. Furthermore, encourage kids to always take the same route – preferably one that has been planned by you in advance and avoid crossing intersections as much as possible.
It is never a bad idea for parents to refresh their children on basic bicycle safety; e.g., stopping at stop signs, riding with traffic instead of against it, riding in a bike lane when available, etc.
Back-to-School Pedestrian Safety
Although walking is a wonderful way to ensure your child receives exercise during the day, it can be extremely dangerous for young children to walk to school alone.
As such, small children should be accompanied by an adult on their way to school.
Older children should always travel the same route and should avoid intersections as much as possible. You may also wish to refresh your child on the importance of alertness as a pedestrian; i.e., not using their cell phone while walking).
Back-to-School Driving Safety
Teen drivers have an overall higher rate of experiencing an accident.
To help mitigate against it, parents are encouraged to enforce and encourage safe driving behaviors.
Examples include never using a cell phone behind the wheel, not driving with extra passengers in the vehicle, following all traffic signals, and watching for buses, bicyclists, and pedestrians while on the way to school. Parents can increase their awareness on their child’s driving behavior with a phone app or a device that plugs into the teen’s vehicle.