Back-to-school safety tips


TROY – The school bells are calling students back to the classroom, and the American Red Cross wants to make sure your student is safe as they head back to school for the upcoming year.

“While safety is a top priority for all students, there are special steps for parents of younger kids and those that might be heading home alone for the first time,” said Lynne Gump, executive director of the Northern Miami Valley Ohio Chapter. “Make sure the child knows their phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 911.”

Here’s some quick tips to share with your kids concerning School bus safety:

* If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand away from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive.

* Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

* Teach your child to board the bus only after it has come to a complete stop and the driver has instructed them to get on.

* Make sure your student always stays in clear view of the bus driver and never walks behind the bus.

For the kids, not riding a bus:

* If children go to school in a car, they should always wear a seat belt. That morning commute is often hurried and hectic, take the time to check and see if they are buckled in safely.

* If a teenager is going to drive to school, parents should mandate that they should not text or make calls use their cell phone and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.

* Some students ride their bike to school. They should always wear a helmet and ride on the right in the same direction as the traffic is going.

* When children are walking to school, they should only cross the street at an intersection, and use a route along which the school has placed crossing guards. Parents should walk young children to school, along with children taking new routes or attending new schools, at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely. Arrange for the kids to walk to school with a friend or classmate.

Of course, for all those drivers on the road, let’s remember that school is back in session:

* Drivers should be aware that children are out walking or biking to school and slow down, especially in residential areas and school zones.

* Motorists must stop when they are behind a bus, meeting the bus or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped. Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety. This includes two and four-lane highways. If physical barriers such as grassy medians, guide rails or concrete median barriers separate oncoming traffic from the bus, motorists in the opposing lanes may proceed without stopping. Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.

Lastly, let’s make sure to have a family disaster plan and to discuss it with everyone in the household. Know what the emergency plan is at your child’s school in case a disaster or an unforeseen event occurs. Develop a family emergency plan so everyone will know who to contact and where to go if something happens while children are at school and parents are at work. Details are available at redcross.org/prepare.