Safe Kids’ Back to School Safety Tips

Whether your kids are walking, biking, or riding the bus to school, here are a few simple tips from Safe Kids Worldwide to make sure they get there safely.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Talk to your kids about how to be safe while walking. It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Teach children at an early age to put down their devices (cell phones, headphones, tablets, etc.) and then look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
  • Kids under the age of 10 should cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, it can be hard for kids to judge the speed and distance of cars until age 10.
  • Remind children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up.
  • When driving, be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones and be on the lookout for bikers, walkers or runners who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.

Bike Safety

  • We have a simple saying: “Use your head, wear a helmet.” It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes.
  • Tell your kids to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
  • Teach your kids to make eye contact with drivers. Bikers should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.
  • When riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, be bright and use lights – and make sure your bike has reflectors as well. It’s also smart to wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve biker visibility to motorists.
  • Actively supervise children until you’re comfortable that they are responsible to ride on their own.

School Bus Safety

  • Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. Tell kids to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time.
  • Teach kids to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting off and never to walk behind the bus.
  • If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, he or she should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver indicates it’s safe. Teach children to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
  • Instruct younger children to use handrails when boarding or exiting the bus. Be careful of straps or drawstrings that could get caught in the door. If your child drops something, he or she should tell the bus driver and make sure the bus driver is able to see him or her before he or she picks it up.
  • Drivers should always follow the speed limit and slow down in school zones and near bus stops. Remember to stay alert and look for kids who may be trying to get to or from the school bus.
  • Slow down and stop if you’re driving near a school bus that is flashing yellow or red lights. This means the bus is either preparing to stop (yellow) or already stopped (red), and children are getting on or off.

Information provided by Safe Kids Worldwide at SafeKids.org.

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