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Back To School Safety

Back To School Safety

Nationwide, injury to pedestrians is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury and related death among children age 5 to 14 years old. Studies also show that there may be a great risk for children who ride their bicycles to school. Last year, 22 percent of bicyclists killed were between 10 and 14 years of age. These statistics can be frightening, but if parents educate children about safety on the way to school, these risks can be significantly reduced.

Walking to School

* Spend time walking with your children and observe how they deal with traffic.
* Choose the route to school or the bus stop that is the safest for your child. Take the same route every day and avoid short cuts.
* Remind your children to demonstrate proper pedestrian behavior. It is extremely important for them to look left-right-left, and always walk facing traffic if no sidewalk is available.
* Pick the place where your child will cross the street. Never enter the street from between parked cars or from behind brushes or shrubs. Cross streets at corners. Use traffic signals and crosswalks whenever possible.
* Provide your children with bright clothing so motorists can easily see them.

Riding on a Bus to School

If possible, an adult should be close to the bus stop at all times, and children should be remember the rules of the road:

* Stay out of the street and avoid horseplay while waiting for the bus.
* Watch for crossarms and wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching.
* Walk immediately onto the sidewalk and out of traffic after getting off the bus.
* Finally, never cross the street behind a school bus.

Riding a Bicycle to School

* The No. 1 rule: Always wear a bike helmet. Head injury is the leading cause of death in bicycle crashes. Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.
* Ride with traffic.
* Wear bright clothes or reflective safety gear.

Riding in a Passenger Vehicle to School

* If your child is less than 5 years old and less than 40 pounds, make sure the child is properly buckled up in a weight-appropriate child safety seat in the back seat. For children age 5 and older, make sure they are buckled in all seating positions at all times.
* In addition, safety experts say that all children under the age of 12 should ride in the back seat, and that children weighing from 40 to 80 pounds (usually 4 to 8 years of age) should ride in a booster seat.