Whatever the mode of transportation to and from school, parents should teach their children how to be safe. Following are tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Walking to school is a great form of exercise. Teach your children to be safe when crossing the street or playing near traffic.
Stop at the curb and look left-right-left for traffic before stepping into the street, and watch for other cars as you cross.
Look for signs that a car is about to move from a parking space or driveway, such as rear lights, exhaust smoke, sound of a motor or wheels turning.
Listen to the directions of a crossing guard.
Before heading out on a bike, make sure it is in working condition and that the rider is wearing a helmet.
Make sure the route to and from school is safe. Avoid heavy traffic, hills, sharp turns and streets with many bumps or potholes. Remember to obey the rules of the road and use hand signals to communicate turns and stops. If allowed, children should ride on the sidewalk away from cars and other fast traffic.
Parents should require everyone in the car to wear a seatbelt at all times. Younger children should be safely secured in an age-appropriate car seat or booster seat, and children under age 13 should always ride in the back seat.
All drivers should be extra alert when driving in school zones and avoid distractions, such as eating, drinking and using a cellphone.
Parents can help keep their teen safe while driving by setting restrictions on number of passengers and eliminating distractions.
Riding a bus
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding a school bus is the safest way for a child to get to school. Teach your children to be safe while boarding and riding the bus.
Stop at the curb and wait for the bus to come to a complete stop.
Look both ways before crossing the street to get to or from the bus.
Listen to the bus driver’s instructions at all times.
© 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics. This Parent Plus may be freely copied and distributed with proper attribution.