Make sure kids get safely to and from school

Friday, August 14, 2015

So you and the kids have made it through the summer with no more than a few skinned knees and a sunburn -- now's not the time to let down your guard.

The same goes for the rest of us, who drive through school zones on our way to work in the morning or to afternoon appointments -- flashing lights and an extended stop sign mean stop and wait for kids to get on or off the bus safely!

If your kids are riding the bus, make sure they stay in clear view of the driver, learn to sit down and not move around in the school bus and wait for it to stop before approaching it from the curb, ideally at designated locations.

If you're still giving your child a ride to school, make sure he or she rides in an approved, properly installed seat with a safety harness. If he or she has reached the top weight or height allowed for the seat, shoulders are above the top harness slots or ears have reached the top of the seat, it's time for a booster seat.

Be realistic about your child's pedestrian skills -- small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic. Carefully consider whether your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.

All children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles, or if carpooling and you absolutely have to use the front seat, move the front-seat passenger's seat as far back as possible and have the child ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do not fit properly.

Bicycles are a great way to get to school, but make sure your child knows the "rules of the road," such as riding on the right in the same direction as auto traffic, use appropriate hand signals and always wear a helmet.

All too many car crashes are caused by inexperienced teen drivers going to and from school. Teen drivers should be required to sear seat belts, have a limited number of passengers and not be allowed to eat, drink, use cell phones or text while driving, and driving should be limited for nighttime and bad weather.

So just because the kids will be safely in school all day, let's not let down our guard, and make sure they get there and home safely.

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