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Keeping our kids safe as they head back to school

Posted at: 08/29/2012 6:48 PM

It’s that time of year again. The last few days of summer have arrived and families are getting ready to send their kids back to school. But before sending them off, take the time to sit down with your kids, especially younger children or teens who may be driving a car for the first time, and go over some rules for keeping themselves safe and sound this September.

Make sure that your child knows his or her home phone number and address, your work contact information, how to get in touch with another trusted adult, and how to dial 9-1-1.

Emphasize “stranger danger”: Don’t talk to or accept rides from people you don’t know.

If your child rides the bus:
- He or she should arrive at the bus stop early, standing away from the curb while waiting,
- Never walk behind the bus or dart into the street,
- Cross only when instructed to do so by the bus driver, never cross between cars, and always in the crosswalk.

If your child walks to school:
- He or she should only cross the street at an intersection and should use the route along which the school has placed crossing guards,
- Parents should walk young children and children taking new routes or attending new schools at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely,
- After that, arrange for the kids to walk to school with a friend or classmate.

If your child rides a bike:
- He or she should always wear a helmet, obey all traffic signs , and ride in the same direction as traffic.

If your child drives:
- Set rules about when the car can be used,
- Parents should mandate that children use seat belts,
- Drivers should not use their cell phone to text or make calls, and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.

All motorists should be aware that:
- Children are out walking or biking to school and slow down, especially in residential areas and school zones—therefore, slow down,
- When a bus is stopped and children are getting on or off, drivers in both directions must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.

Back to school is an exciting and busy time for kids and adults—let’s all use caution to make sure it stays happy and fun! For more pointers, visit http://www.redcross.org.