With a new school year in full swing, the American Red Cross has posted simple, practical safety tips and reminders to keep our children safe as they head back to the classroom.
“When kids go back to school, parents should make sure the child knows his or her home phone number and address, parents’ work contact information, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 9-1-1,” said Dr. David Markenson, chair of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and pediatric expert.
“Parents should also teach their children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know,” Markenson added.
To ensure a smooth start to their day, children who ride a bus to school should plan on being at their stop early and should stand away from the curb while they wait for their bus to arrive. Additional bus safety tips include:
- Never board the bus before it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has given instruction to board safely.
- Board only the assigned bus and never an alternate one.
- Always be certain the bus driver can see you, and NEVER walk behind the bus.
- Cross streets at corners; obey traffic signals and instructions given by crossing guards. Be sure to stay within crosswalk boundaries.
- Never walk between parked cars or dash out into the street.
- Motorists, too, must practice safety. Flashing yellow lights on a school bus indicate that the bus is getting ready to stop; and drivers should slow down and prepare to stop.
- Red flashing lights with an extended STOP sign mean the bus is stopped and children are boarding or disembarking. Drivers in BOTH DIRECTIONS MUST STOP and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is pulled in and the bus begins to move again.
- The Red Cross also reminds us that children who ride to school in a car should always wear a seat belt and that younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits them properly (typically for children ages 8-12 and over 4’9”). Children should also ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.
- Teenage drivers must wear seat belts and should NOT USE THEIR CELL PHONE TO TEXT OR MAKE CALLS. The Red Cross also recommends avoiding eating or drinking while driving.
- In general, drivers must be reminded to SLOW DOWN and watch for children walking or biking to school, especially in residential areas and school zones.
CYCLING AND WALKING:
- Students who ride their bike to school should always wear a helmet, obey all traffic signs and ride ON THE RIGHT IN THE SAME DIRECTION AS TRAFFIC.
- Those who walk to school should cross the street at an intersection and use routes that crossing guards have been assigned to.
- Parents should accompany young children or those taking new routes for at least the first week to ensure their safety. Thereafter, children should always walk to school with a classmate or friend.
The American Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that provides disaster relief, supports American military families, provides more than 40 percent of America’s blood supply and is the nation’s leading provider of health and safety courses.
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[Source: American Red Cross]