School’s back – be safe

Summer is officially over for school-age kids who went back to the classrooms last week.

Summer is officially over for school-age kids, who last week had to go back to getting out of bed before noon and spending hours in classrooms instead of on the river.

I’m sure this brings a sigh of relief from the majority of parents, who no longer have to spend every minute of their day making sure their child is safe. However, getting to and from school is now the most dangerous part of your child’s day.

Whether children are walking, riding a bike, being driven, or, in the case of the older kids, driving themselves, there are a few tips and reminders parents should give children about getting to their destination.

If children are walking, map out a safe route to school. A few days before the start of school, walk with the child so they become familiar with the route. Make sure children cross the road where there are proper crossings.

If a student is taking a bicycle to school, remind them to wear a helmet. Teach children to ride in the same direction as traffic, on the right side of the road. Explain the rules of the road and to obey all traffic signs and signals.

For those taking the bus, the area 10 feet around a bus is where most children are in danger of being hit. Motorists need to stop their vehicle far enough away to allow children to safely go near their bus, but remind your child to look before they leap from the bus.

If your child is driving themselves to school, never stop reminding them to wear a seatbelt and put away their phone.

There are also reminders for parents who take their child or children to school. Most importantly, slow down in school zones. Watch for the children walking to school. They might look like they are walking in a straight line, but kids have a tendency to be pretty erratic. He might jump off the sidewalk, or dart into the street when he sees his friend the other side of the road. Expect that.

At the beginning of the school year, allow more time as the area around schools become congested with foot and vehicular traffic. Learn the rules of where parents can drop off or pick up children. Never block pick up and drop off areas.

All drivers need to remember school is back in session. Slow down and watch for children crossing the streets. The simple message to drivers is be alert. Let’s help students get to school safely.