HBL Back to School Safety

It’s that time of the year again! Let’s kick the semester off with some back to school safety tips.

The smell of coffee wafts through the kitchen. You have a few spare minutes of silence before you need to wrangle the kiddos out of bed, stuff them into something resembling an outfit, and shoe them off to the bus stop with what you’ll later realize was your lunch instead of theirs. Guess we’re having Lunchables again.

In all the madness of back-to-school season, it’s easy to overlook a thing or two. But as you sit at that table wishing you’d brewed that coffee a little bit stronger, we thought we’d share some important back to school safety tips with you.

So give those bleary eyes a rub, and scroll down to keep reading.

Whoops… your other down.

We call back seat!

1. School Bus Safety

For the parents who love getting behind the wheel, it might come as a surprise to learn that school busses are the safest way for kids to get to school. In fact, according NHTSA, students are 70x more likely to get to school safely when taking the bus compared to being driven by car. With 25 million kids hopping aboard the iconic yellow bus — which, fun fact, is yellow for a very cool reason: it’s the easiest color for a human to see peripherally — more than 17,000,000 vehicles are kept away from school zones each day.

Fewer cars on nearby roads means less risk to the students who travel to school by other means. But before we get to those, here are a handful of school bus safety tips for kids (and the parents who have to herd them out the door).

  1. When waiting for the bus, keep five steps (or at least six feet) back from the curb until it comes to a complete stop in front of you. While injuries are rare (and fatalities even less so) 4 to 6 school-age children do die each year in school bus-related accidents. Most of those are caused by them running out into the road and being hit.
  2. Try not to cross in front of the bus if you can help it, but if you must, make sure you give yourself ten feet of space ahead of it so that you can look for oncoming cars, and so that drivers can see you.
  3. ALWAYS look both ways before crossing the street: left, right, then left again.
  4. Once you find a seat, face forward and buckle up for safety. Many busses have seat belts these days, and they aren’t just there for decoration. In the unlikely event a crash occurs, a seatbelt can save your life.
  5. Always stay seated until the bus has stopped moving. Gone are the days when children could dart from seat to seat at 40 mph, and that’s definitely for the best.
  6. Never get off at a stop that you aren’t familiar with. Better yet, never get off at a stop that isn’t your own. For parents, walk your child to where the bus stop will be each day so that he or she knows where it is.

2. Walking to School

For the kids who live right by their school, nothing beats the convenience of a quick walk. Plus, it’s great exercise! The best place to walk is on the sidewalk, of course, but if there is none and if you must walk in the street, always do so facing traffic. (Meaning, your left shoulder to the shoulder.)

As we’ve discussed in a previous post, pedestrian deaths and pedestrian injuries are still all too common in the United States. When crossing the street, always use a crosswalk, and wait until it’s safe to do so. If a crossing guard is present, they’ll let you know when it’s safe to walk, but you still look both ways nonetheless. Walking to school isn’t playtime, and should be kept free from distraction. That means no cell phone use, rough housing, or trying to finish that math homework you forgot to do.

A child riding her bike to school.

3. Tips for the Tiny Bicyclists

Bikes offer kids a newfound sense of freedom, and are a great way to build confidence and self-reliance in your child. Even if you haven’t ridden a bike in years (don’t worry; if you can’t remember how, it’s just like riding a bike), it’s impossible to forget the feeling of the wind on your face and in your ears and in your hair and– actually, scratch that last one. If you could feel the wind in your hair, you probably weren’t wearing a helmet.

Head injuries in children are one of the leading causes of death among our young population, so a vital part of bicycle safety for your son or daughter is a properly fitted helmet. When riding, it’s best to wear brightly-colored or reflective clothing so that drivers can see you. Remember, share the road! Oftentimes, bicyclists will be on the road with cars that are much faster and much heavier. Always use the bike lane if there is one, and unlike with walking, you must ride in the same direction as traffic. Always follow the same signs and signals as drivers do, and if you have to use the sidewalk, keep an eye out for pedestrians.

Much like cars, owning and riding a bike comes with a whole new set of responsibilities. Understanding bike safety is the most important one of all.

4. Tips for Teen Drivers

Start Smart! A few weeks ago we shared an article with you about Start Smart program being held by the California Highway Patrol. The next course will be held in just a few days — on August 30th.

Per Senior Deputy Damian Alvarez, “Interested parents are asked to call the Thousand Oaks Police Department Traffic Bureau at (805) 494-8271 for more information and to make a reservation. Space is limited to 25 students and their parents. There is no charge to attend the program.”

“A driver license comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow in a 2015 statement. “Start Smart prepares new drivers and their parents for the challenges that lie ahead. Ultimately, the goal is to save lives by producing safe drivers through education.”

A classroom isn’t the only place to take your education to new heights.

Teaching your children the ways of the road at a young age is a great way to build confidence and foster independence. By understanding how they can get back to school safely, they’ll start the school year off on the right foot. As the saying goes, 80 percent of life is showing up. Turns out, the same goes for school — and safety is an part component of ensuring they do.

The other 20%: coffee.

Have a serious injury and need legal advice?
Contact Howard Blau.

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Check Out These References for Further Reading:

“Back to School Safety Checklist.” National Safety Council. Retrieved 26 August 2018. https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/seasonal-safety/back-to-school

“School Bus Safety.” NHTSA. Retrieved 26 August 2018. https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/school-bus-safety

“7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips.” Sandbox Networks. Retrieved 26 August 2018. https://www.familyeducation.com/school/7-important-back-school-safety-tips

2019-02-01T16:01:33-08:00August 27th, 2018|Child Safety, Safety, School Safety|0 Comments