Sound Advice – Back To School Safety Checklist
With the start of the new school year, here are few considerations to keep all our kids safe as they go to and from school.
- Teach your kids to always play it SAFE
- Stay five steps away from the curb
- Always wait for the bus driver to say when to board
- Face forward after finding a seat
- Exit the bus when it stops, look left-right-left, and take five steps away from the bus toward the curb.
- Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (nhtsa.org)
- Link: https://www.nhtsa.gov/back-school-safety
- Make it a habit to arrive at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive
- Make sure that your child stays out of the street and avoids excessive “horseplay” while waiting for the bus
- Make sure your kids understand they must stay seated and keep their arms and head inside the bus at all times
- Explain to kids about the driver’s blind spot – from the front of the bus to about 10 feet in front of the bus – and that they must not walk that close to the front of the bus.
Dropping off /picking up in a school zone
- Learn about your school’s specific drop off and pick up procedures
- Don’t double park: it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
- Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school
- Don’t use handicapped spaces or emergency vehicle lanes unless you have a permit to do so
- Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school
Source: National Safety Council (nsc.org)
Walking to school
- Children under 10 years old should be accompanied by an adult
- Walk in groups for safety; teach children never to accept rides from strangers
- Plan the route and teach your children to always take the same route and never take “shortcuts”
- Use the sidewalk whenever possible; if there’s no sidewalk, walk on the edge of the street facing oncoming traffic.
- Focus on the surroundings when walking – no time for “horseplay” or distractions
- Use crosswalks whenever available
- Look left-right-left before crossing any street
Biking to school
- Children should always wear a properly fitting helmet with the chinstrap securely fastened
- Ride in groups for safety
- Ride the same direction as the traffic and follow traffic signs and signals; teach children to use hand signals for turning, etc.
- Ride in bike lanes whenever possible
- Use sidewalks appropriately and watch out for pedestrians
- Never use electronics while riding… this includes cell phones and ear buds for music!
- Only let your children drive with a responsible, safe driver who has completed a driver’s ed course
- The car shouldn’t move until everyone has buckled their seat belt
- No distractions allowed while driving- no cell phones, food, tuning radio, etc.
- Let teens know that driving to school is a privilege that will be revoked if you receive a report of unsafe driving behavior, even by the passengers
- Know the NY state laws regarding teen drivers and make sure your kids follow them
Driving in school zones
- Always obey crossing guard signals
- Do not block a crosswalk
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
- Never pass a vehicle, change lanes or make U-turns while in a school zone.
- Allow extra car lengths when behind a school bus; stop back far enough to allow kids to safely enter and exit the school bus
- Be alert: children are unpredictable and may run into the street without looking at any moment
Backpacks and apparel
- To avoid back injuries, choose an appropriately-sized backpack for your child’s height and weight; a fully loaded backpack should weigh no more than 10-15% of the child’s body weight
- Choose backpacks with wide straps and padding in the back
- Teach your kids to put the heavier items in first and use both straps to help distribute weight evenly
- Remove drawstrings from jackets. sweatshirts and hooded shirts to reduce the risk of strangulation injuries.