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Kid Safety: Back to School

Posted August 15, 2012 in Advice Column, Windsor Heights

It won’t be long before school starts again. Kids will be out in greater numbers on the streets and sidewalks. As parents, we want our children to enjoy their years in school and return safely home each afternoon.

Whether your child is riding a bike, walking or taking a bus, there are a few simple safety rules you should discuss before school starts.

Riding a bike or walking will give your child a chance to get some exercise during the day. But children face possible dangers riding or biking. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 have probably not developed the skills and experience to navigate traffic safely and judge speed and distance. Before school starts, practice safe pedestrian skills with your child and provide adult supervision to and from school if possible. Tell your child to:
•    Mind all traffic signals and/or the crossing guard.
•    Never cross the street against a light, even if there’s no traffic coming.
•    Walk your bike through intersections.
•    Ride or walk with a buddy.
•    Wear reflective material to be more visible to street traffic.

Taking the bus is a safe mode of transportation. However, according to the National Safety Council, about 9,000 children are injured each year in incidents involving school buses. Surprisingly, these injuries occur as children enter and exit the bus. Review these safety tips with your child:
•    Have a safe place to wait for the bus, away from traffic and the street.
•    Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals you to enter.
•    When being dropped off, exit the bus and walk several giant steps away from the bus. Keep a safe distance between you and the bus. Also, remember that the bus driver can see you best when you are away from the bus.
•    Use the handrail to enter and exit the bus.
•    Stay away from the bus until the driver gives a signal that it’s OK to approach.
•    Be aware of the street traffic around you. Drivers are required to follow certain rules of the road concerning school buses, but not all do.
•    If you’re driving in a school area or along bus routes, be sure to watch out for children on the streets and sidewalks. Slow down in school areas. Stop at crosswalks and intersections when children are present. Obey all laws regarding school buses. Whether your have a child in school or not, help make sure all school children arrive at school and home safely.

Information provided by Matt Cale, State Farm Insurance, 6733 University Ave., Windsor Heights, 280-9000.

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