With the end of summer drawing near and classes starting back up at our local schools, we thought it would be a great time to talk about back-to-school safety measures. It’s a great time of year to remember to take a minute, slow down through town, and pay attention to your surroundings.
Transportation, Pedestrian Safety, + Crosswalks
Whether your child walks, bikes, or drives to and from school, it’s important to make sure they are comfortable and understand all safety rules. We recommend taking some practice trips with them to show them the route, talk about how to safely cross the street, and what to do if they get lost. Here are a few tips we recommend to help keep you and your children safe:
- Always walk on the sidewalk if there is one. If you find yourself on a street with no sidewalk, walk facing the traffic.
- Remind your kids to almost look both ways before crossing the street and check for turning cars.
- Even if you think a driver has seen you, try to make eye contact with them before you cross at crosswalks or intersections, sometimes people aren’t always paying attention.
- Avoid distracted walking, such as looking down at your phone.
- Always ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, and in a single file line.
- Wear a helmet that fits properly, even if you don’t think you need one, it could save your life!
- Dismount when crossing crosswalks and walk your bike across.
Driving Your Kids
- Obey speed limits and be extra aware when driving in a school zone.
- Know your school’s drop-off procedures ahead of time. This will create less stress for you when dropping your little ones off.
- Never pass a school bus that is loading or unloading children
- Stay alert on your drive, especially in neighborhoods with schools, and always watch for kids.
Did you know that car crashes are among the number one cause of death for teens?
- Teen drivers are very inexperienced, so even after they get their license, we recommend practicing with them frequently and in different conditions.
- Set a good example – your teen is most likely to resemble your style of driving, so be aware of your habits.
- Since we live in a place with adverse weather conditions, it is a good idea to sign your child up for a winter driving course. We also recommend explaining the importance of winter tires, emergency kits, and what to do in case of bad weather.
- Talk to your teen about what to do in the event of a car crash, road closure, or if they simply run out of gas. Have a plan of action for them so they are prepared.
School Bus Rules + Safety
If your child rides the bus to school each day, we recommend taking them to the bus stop the first day, or days leading up to school, so they can get familiar with the route and where to stand.
- Show your child the proper way to get on and off the bus. Teach them to stand 6 feet away from the curb.
- Explain to your child that they should always cross in front of the bus and to make eye contact with the bus driver. A good rule of thumb is to tell your child that if they can’t see the bus driver, the bus driver most likely can’t see them.
- Colorado School Bus Laws: In Colorado, you must stop your vehicle at least 20 ft before reaching a school bus that is stopped with red lights flashing. You have to remain stopped until the flashing red lights are no longer operating. Always watch carefully for children near the school bus and crossing the roadway before proceeding. You are not required to stop if the school bus is traveling toward you on a road that is separated by a median or physical barrier.
School Zones + Speed Limits
Be mindful of the speed limits in your neighborhoods and where the school zones are. Most school zone speed limits are around 20 mph and there will be a flashing sign signaling for you to slow down. Staying alert while driving in these areas could help you avoid seriously injuring a child or getting a speeding ticket. We can’t encourage you enough to put your phone down and pay attention to your surroundings while driving.
Comfortable backpacks that fit your child well and provides the best support for the weight of the books and supplies they have to carry should be top of mind when back-to-school shopping.
- You’ll want your children to use both straps when wearing their backpacks to evenly distribute the weight. (Remember when it was “cool” to only use one strap on your backpack?)
- Don’t try to overstuff their backpacks. If need be, get them a lunchbox or think of different ways for them to carry their belongings.
- Some kids may opt for rolling backpacks, which is a great way to avoid back pain issues but remind your children about the tripping hazards with rolling backpacks and make sure their school will allow rolling backpacks.
Teach your children proper etiquette for the playground:
- Be kind to other kids and share the playground.
- Don’t shove or rough house with other kids.
- Try to avoid loose necklaces, clothes, and shoelaces on the playground.
We hope you found these tips to be helpful or were reminded of things you had previously forgotten. Best of luck as the beginning of the school year starts and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your friends at the Carbondale Fire District.