By Mohammed Soriano Bilal
Getting your kids cleaned, fed and dressed can make getting out of the house nerve wrecking. Traveling to and from school just adds that extra bit of nuttiness. So here are some simple, helpful ways to safely get your kids to and from school.
- CREATE A WALKING PLAN: Map out a safe route with the fewest intersections and walk the route with your child the weekend before the first day of school. Point out dangerous street crossings, parks, empty lots and places without a lot of human activity. It’s also a great idea to arrange for your child to walk with a sibling, a schoolmate or a family member.
- TALK WITH YOUR KIDS ABOUT STRANGERS (Before the first week of school): Explain the meaning of the word "stranger"—people you and your children don't know well—and, as your family encounters new types of strangers, add to the definition. Make your children aware of the possible dangers of talking to strangers, accepting gifts from strangers (candy, stuffed animals, electronics, etc.), and getting into stranger's vehicles.
- DON'T RUSH: Getting to work or school on time is not worth your family's safety. Be prepared by creating a driving plan with plenty of time to get your children to school and yourself to work. Remember to drop and pick your kids off as close to school as possible, and watch them enter the building (Swagger kill). Oh yeah, and don't forget to lay a big, embarrassingly sloppy one on them right as they're getting out of the car.
- WEAR SAFETY EQUIPMENT: If your child rides a bike or scooter to school, make sure she wears the proper safety equipment—helmets (U.S. safety standards—CPSC, Snell, ANSI, ASTM), kneepads, elbow pads, safety lights and reflective vests. Teach them to understand and follow all traffic signs, signals, and crossing guards.
- STAND AWAY FROM THE BUS: When catching the bus, teach children to stand at least five feet away from the curb and allow the bus to stop completely before boarding. To avoid falls when exiting, children should exit from the front of the bus. If crossing an intersection after getting off of the bus, children should wait until the light turns green and the bus passes. Do not bend down in front of buses, as bus drivers may not see a child when pulling off.