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Back to School Time Means More Awareness

keep students safeIt’s back to school time, and that means the school buses are out on the road and children are at the crosswalks. Children are known to make risky choices sometimes, and the team here at McDivitt Law Firm wants to make sure the children of Colorado are kept safe. To ensure that those children going to and returning from school remain safe, here are some helpful tips for parents, kids and drivers to ensure children’s safety.

Tips for Parents and Kids

A lot of the behaviors children do are taught by their parents and other adults, so the best way for you to ensure your children are safe going to and coming from school is to model the appropriate behaviors. Your children are watching and listening. So, parents, make sure you discuss these important bus stop safety tips with your children:

  • Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before leaving the seat.
  • Wait for the bus driver to signal to cross the street.
  • Look both ways twice before crossing the street.
  • Always exit from the front of the bus.
  • Avoid talking to strangers at the bus stop.
  • Avoid horseplay on and around the bus.

And here are some tips for those children who walk to school:

  • Show your child the safest route to school, and point out potential hazards.
  • Show them how to use the crosswalk and signs and to follow those rules.
  • Teach your kids to walk, not run across a street, and to always keep their eyes and ears open for cars.
  • Remind your children to always look left and right and left again before crossing the street.
  • Teach your children to put phones, headphones and other devices away when crossing the street.

Tips for Drivers

Along with teaching our kids how to be safe when crossing the road, there are things drivers need to do as well to keep children safe. Remember, many children can’t judge a car’s distance and speed correctly; you need to be aware of this lack of judgment and use slower speeds so you can react. Also, did you know children’s peripheral vision is one third narrower than an adult’s? That means they are less likely to see a car approaching than an adult. So when you are sharing the road with young pedestrians, take these precautions offered by the National Safety Council:

  • Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light; this will force pedestrians to walk around you, and could put them in the path of moving traffic;
  • In a school zone, stop and yield to pedestrians using a crosswalk or crossing at an intersection;
  • Always stop for the crossing guard holding up a sign;
  • Take extra care to look for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in residential areas;
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians;
  • Remember, pedestrians have the right of way.

And don’t forget, as a driver you have to share the road with school buses. Most importantly, you can’t pass that bus when the stop sign is up. Tips include:

  • Never pass a school bus from behind, or from either direction if on an undivided road, if the bus is stopped to load or unload children.
  • The area 10 feet around the bus is the most dangerous for children, so stop far enough back to allow them to safely enter and exit the bus.
  • Always be alert; children can be unpredictable and often ignore safety hazards or take unsafe risks.

According to National Safe Routes, more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location. Therefore, if you drive your children to school, remember these safety tips as well:

  • Ensure that your children wear their seatbelt at all times.
  • Don’t drop your children off across the street from school and expect them to manage to get across the congestion. Use the existing drop-off and pick-up zone for the school. This ensures optimum safety.
  • If a drop-off system is not available, figure out the safest route for your children to exit the car.
  • Don’t double park as it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles.
  • And, you could always carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school.

For more, please see AAA Safe Roads suggestions.

We hope everyone has a great school year, and that safety continues to be every parent and child’s utmost concern.

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