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Kids are back to school; let's keep them safe

Kids are back to school; let's keep them safe

It's "Back to School" time, the season when the daylight hours grow shorter and our roads grow busier.  It's also time to get street smart.

Fewer daylight hours can make it harder for motorists to see young students. So, whether your kids are walking, riding a bicycle, or catching a school bus or other public transportation to travel to and from school, please take a few moments to talk to them about safety.

Collage of photos from NHTSA Parents Central website

On its Parents Central website, our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers a wide range of safe transportation practices for kids on the move.  We encourage you to start with these tips:

School Bus: School buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school. Even so, kids need to be especially careful around the school bus “danger zone” – 10 feet in front, 10 feet behind, and on each side of the bus. Kids should:

  • Wait five giant steps from the road and when the school bus arrives, wait until the driver says to board.
  • When boarding the school bus, go straight to your seat and sit facing the front and do what the school bus driver tells you to do.
  • When exiting the bus, look out for cars. When you’re off the bus, take 5 giant steps from the school bus.
  • Look left-right-left to make sure no cars are coming and wait for the driver to signal it’s safe to cross.

Walking:  Pedestrians 10 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult or young adult on their way to and from school. Kids should:

  • Walk on the sidewalk and if there is none, walk facing traffic.
  • Do not push or shove others when you walk.
  • When crossing the street, look left-right-left for cars. Do not cross if a car is coming and use a crosswalk if you can.

Biking:  The two best protections when biking to and from school are a properly fitted bicycle helmet and a good grasp of traffic safety rules. Kids should:

  • Always wear a helmet and make sure to buckle the chin strap.
  • Ride along streets with low traffic volume and at lower speeds.
  • Always ride in the same direction as traffic, and stop at all stop signs and signals.
  • Never use headphones or cell phones while riding.

Car: Children should always ride in the back seat.  Children in the front seat are 40 percent more likely to be injured in crashes.

One last tip for parents: whether it seems that way or not, your kids are watching you!  Please stay completely focused on the road --whether you're walking, biking or driving-- and put your cell phone away when in traffic.

For more back-to-school safety tips and to reinforce children’s pedestrian, bicycle, school bus and/or public transportation habits, please remember to visit NHTSA's Parents Central

We wish you and your kids a safe school year.

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This is a great article regarding bus and street safety, and the ideas given need to be brought home. My 6 year old granddaughter, who started first grade this year, should be the one to read and understand this article. Unfortunately her reading skills have not reached the level to search out and read NHTSA’s website. The one thing I do know and understand is none of the suggestions listed here have ever been talked about or taught in her school, therefore, I will be sending a copy of this to her school and will follow up with a visit to see what steps need to be taken to help teach this to the children in her school. The question is how many other parents or grandparents will do the same. I’m sure no one would say a word if I just sat back and allowed this to pass and hope nothing happens to my granddaughter or any of her friends or school mates, but then who would be the blame if something did? This should be sent to every grade school principle and each PTA president, with the understanding to start an educational program with the help from parents and grandparents.

Great reminder. Yesterday I was the only car to stop when a school bus put it's flag up. People kept driving past me while I was stopped. thanks for posting the reminder!

When will Florida put into effect no TEXTING. To many people die on the roads in Florida.
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