Do What You Can To Encourage A Safe Walk To School

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Yesterday, we related some of the ways that children can be kept safe from typical backpack and bicycle injuries.  But with the school year drawing ever closer, it’s important that parents recognize the numerous other ways they can influence their children’s behavior and make sure that their trip to school is as safe as possible.  A new report out of Arizona discloses how with tips from the Douglas Police Department.

If you’re going to be driving your children to school, or even if you’re going to pass through a dedicated school zone on your way to or from work, you have to be ready to drive more defensively than you maybe otherwise would.  The summer may have gotten drivers used to not sharing the road with kids heading to and from school, and it’s important to get back in the habit of always being alert in neighborhood settings and driving slowly when kids are near.

This is particularly important around bus stops.  If you notice that a bus has stopped, do not dart around it, whether you’re going in the same direction or opposite.  The bus should have a red stop sign that acts as an indicator that children are in the process of boarding or crossing, and you should respect that stop sign so that kids aren’t endangered.  This becomes particularly important as daylight hours become shorter and shorter and thus make kids even harder to see in the early mornings.

When you’re transporting your own kids to school, dramatically decrease your speed as you draw near to the school itself and move to the designated pickup and drop-off point the school has provided.  That way, you can be assured you’re drawing as close as possible to the building.  What you don’t want to do is drop them off down the block and have them walk the rest of the way.  It might be unsafe for them as well as other vehicles that aren’t expecting you to stop.  Instead, get close to the school and watch them head in.

If your children are of the age that you’ve deemed it acceptable for them to walk to school, or if you accompany your kids on their walk, be sure that you only cross streets when safe to do so.  Don’t assume that other drivers are following the steps outlined above.

Have your kids cross only at crosswalks and only after verifying that there are cars in neither direction.  Plot out the route beforehand, doing what you can to minimize heavily trafficked areas and street crossing.  If there’s a crossing guard, tell your kids that they should listen to him or her for directives on when it’s safe to go.

Finally, have your kids wear bright clothing and be cognizant of inattentive drivers, and tell them to have a good time back at school.