Some Minnesota students have already started the school year, but for most, today (Tuesday) is the first day of classes.
The Minnesota Safety Council offers the following safety information to consider as the swarm of children head to and from school.
Nationally, being struck by a vehicle while walking is a leading cause of unintentional death among children ages 5 to 14. The back-to-school season is a good time to teach kids how to be safe when going to and from school.
Walking to School
Choose the safest route and walk it with your children. Look for the most direct route with the fewest street crossings. Try to choose routes where school safety patrols will be present. (Check with your school if you’re not sure.) Children under age 10 should walk with an adult or older child every day because they do not have the necessary skills to judge the speed or distance of oncoming traffic. Also, their peripheral (side) vision is 1/3 less than that of adults.
Teach children to obey all traffic signals and markings. Children should be taught the meaning of all traffic markers (for example, a flashing “walk” sign is not an automatic “go” signal.)
Make sure children look to the left, to the right and to the left again for moving vehicles before crossing the street.
Teach children not to enter the street from between parked cars or from behind bushes or shrubs. Darting into the street accounts for a significant number of pedestrian injuries among children ages 9 and under.
Because drivers have a more difficult time seeing pedestrians, warn children to be extra alert in bad weather.
Be a good role model. Children imitate their parents and model their behavior. You need to tell them and show them how to be safe pedestrians.
School Bus Safety
Each year, twice as many children are killed getting on or off the bus than while riding it.
Teach your children about the 10-foot danger zone around the school bus, where the driver can’t see children on the ground. They should take eight giant steps away from the bus to be sure the bus driver can see them. Older kids who must cross the street should look to the bus driver for an “OK” sign before crossing, and always cross in front of the bus.
Kids tend to run toward the bus — don’t let them. Kids should stand on the grass or sidewalk while waiting for the bus and not enter the street until the driver has opened the door of the bus.
If something falls under or near the bus, tell the driver. Never try to pick it up yourself!
When you get on or off the bus, look for the bus safety lights and make sure they are flashing.
Be alert to traffic. When you get on or off the bus, look left, right, left before you enter or cross the street.
While on the bus, children should observe the following safety rules:
Remain seated at all times and keep the aisles clear.
Don’t throw objects. Don’t shout or distract the driver unnecessarily.
Keep your head and arms inside the bus at all times.