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Editorial

Safety Pro


Getting Your Kids To and In School Safely!



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09/01/2012 - It's hard to believe that school has started again. Here are some common sense reminders for parents and drivers to get our kids to school safely.

For some, just the anxiety of starting back to school is enough to disrupt family life as we know it. But, they first have to GET to school in one piece.

More than 400 kids between the ages of 5 and 14 are killed every year from being struck by a vehicle. Many of these are at bus stops as well as those that are walking to school. First, remind your kids that playing tag or horseplaying at the bus stop is dangerous. A driver does not always anticipate a middle school aged child darting directly in front of a car to catch a ball or escape being 'tagged' while waiting for the bus.

Kids can get into pushing contests to line up to get on the bus so those critical 'best seats' can be obtained. Kids have been struck by the bus before it stops completely because someone got pushed into the road to get them out of the way.

We all know what it's like in the car when our kids 'go nuts' and annoy us almost to death. A bus driver has "millions" of those kids riding together so a gentle reminder about acting respectfully, if for no other reason than to keep the bus driver from wanting to throw your kid under the bus while moving, let alone the sudden distraction and potential accident when the driver gets startled by the blood-curdling scream from the back of the bus, is strongly encouraged.

We have all experienced the 'slip and slide' that occurs when the bus stairs are wet or our shoes are wet so remind your kids to use the handrail when getting on and off the bus.

Walking or riding bikes to school certainly changes the exposure to hazards. High schoolers still on permits or freshly licensed are driving themselves to school and more experienced drivers have had all summer long to blow through the 25-mph school speed limit and are now late for work because of getting behind a school bus. Walking in groups whenever possible and staying on sidewalks is always preferred. Children should NOT be skateboarding or scootering to school. Showing off the new skills learned over the summer is way too enticing while falling or turning directly into traffic. Crossing streets at corners and not in the middle is also a good lesson to learn before being struck.

If driving your child to school, remember the others at bus stops, walking, and riding bikes. Mind the school zone speeds and the hundreds of cars waiting to make a left into the school parking lot to drop off their kids. Be courteous - don't hold the family meeting from the front seat of the car when the kid is supposed to be getting out.

Don't become part of a statistic. Our kids deserve better.

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