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Back to School Safety: A Comprehensive Guide for Our Community

By admin Published August 25, 2023


Adult and children with backpacks walking, holding hands.

As we turn the page on another summer and prepare for the school bells to ring, safety is a fundamental concern.


With the excitement of buying new school supplies and catching up with friends, it is important to remind our children and ourselves of the essential school safety practices.

School-related safety concerns arise in various ways, from kids in crosswalks and school bus safety to the careful watch for kids biking to school. We are committed to ensuring our community’s well-being, and this includes providing information to enhance our children’s safety as they head back to school.

Why We Talk About Back to School Safety

Safety is not a one-off discussion. It is a culture that needs to be continuously nurtured, especially among our children. The back-to-school season often brings with it an increase in incidents related to school transportation and pedestrian accidents. The excitement of a new school year, coupled with the familiarity of routes and routines, can sometimes lead to complacency among kids and parents.

Children walking or biking to school can sometimes get distracted, ignore traffic rules, or fail to notice vehicles. On the other hand, drivers might miss spotting a child on a crosswalk or one running to catch a school bus. These seemingly small oversights can have significant repercussions.

Highlighting the Need for Back to School Safety

We need to remember the potential safety hazards that can accompany the back-to-school season. From students crossing busy streets on their way to school, boarding or alighting school buses, or bicycling alongside traffic, the risks are varied and real. Recognizing these challenges is the first step in mitigating them, and the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District is committed to raising awareness about these critical issues.

Comprehensive Tips to Protect Our Young Pedestrians and Commuters

Ensuring the safety of our children as they travel to and from school is a shared responsibility. Here, we provide a more detailed set of safety guidelines to help students, parents, and drivers contribute to a safer community environment.

Guidelines for Parents and Children

1. Understanding and Observing Traffic Rules: Familiarize your child with basic traffic rules, signs, and signals. Practice the route to school with them, emphasizing where and when to cross streets and explaining potential hazards.

2. Visibility is Key: Ensure your child knows how to make themselves seen. Teach them to make eye contact with drivers before crossing streets and always use marked crosswalks. Dress them in bright, visible clothing, especially if they’re leaving home early in the morning or returning late in the afternoon.

3. Navigating School Buses: Reinforce the importance of behavior on the bus. Encourage them to use handrails when getting on or off, remain seated during travel, and always keep their heads and arms inside the bus. Emphasize the importance of stepping away from the bus once they alight and only crossing the street when the bus has moved far away.

4. Bicycling Safety: If your child is biking to school, ensure they wear a helmet. They should ride on bike paths if available and always follow traffic rules. Make sure the bicycle has reflectors to increase visibility.

Tips for Drivers

1. Adherence to Speed Limits: Pay special attention to speed limits, particularly in school zones. Reduced speeds can give drivers more time to react should a child step into the road unexpectedly.

2. Be Cautious of Young Bicyclists: Exercise extra caution around young bicyclists. They may not have the ability to accurately judge your vehicle’s speed and distance and may swerve unpredictably.

3. Respect School Buses: Keep a safe distance from school buses and be prepared to stop suddenly. Remember, it’s not just a rule—it’s the law.

Making Back to School Safety a Priority

As a community, our responsibility is to ensure that the thrill of heading back to school doesn’t become a cause for unwanted incidents. By working together, reinforcing safety rules, and being vigilant, we can keep our children safe and let the focus be where it needs to be – on learning and growing.

To learn more about how we can keep our community safe, or to ask any questions, please feel free to contact us. Carbondale Fire are always here to help.