With every beginning of August comes preparations for back to school. Students begin to pick out all new supplies and get their books together, while parents prepare to adjust to the new routine. With students spending more time outside of the house another thing to keep in mind is back to school safety. The Red Cross has released their top 10 safety tips to keep kids safe this school year.
Having a conversation about safety is particularly important for kids heading out to school for the first time. Lyn Hruska, American Red Cross Chief Executive, of Central and Southern Illinois Region said, “Whether riding, biking or walking to school, we want everyone to arrive and then return home safely.”
Parents should make sure that their students know their phone number, address and how to get in touch with their parents or another trusted adult in case of an emergency. Having a conversation about strangers and accepting rides from people they do not know is also an important conversation for parents and students to have before the begging of the academic year.
TOP TEN TIPS
1. Tell children they should only board their bus- never an alternate one.
2. Wait to board the bus until it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has signaled to get on.
3. Always stay in clear view of the bus driver and never walk behind the bus.
4. Cross the street at the corner, obey traffic signals and stay in the crosswalk.
5. Never dart out into the street, or cross between parked cars.
6. Younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits properly, and ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.
7. If a teenager is driving to school, parents should mandate that he or she use seat belts. Drivers should not use their cell phones to text or make calls and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.
8. Some students ride their bike to school. They should always wear a helmet and ride on the right in the same direction as the traffic is going.
9. When students are walking to school, they should only cross the street at an intersection, and if possible, use a route with crossing guards.
10. Parents should walk young children to school, along with children taking new routes or attending new schools, at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely. Arrange for the kids to walk to school a friend or a classmate.
Drivers also need to be cautious during this time of year. It is important to respect school zones, and slow down in residential areas. This is especially true during peak pick up and drop off hours for the students. Drivers should also remember to acknowledge what the yellow and red lights on buses indicate. Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is getting ready to stop, and cars should slow down. The red flashing lights indicate that motorists should come to a stop to let the students cross.