As the summer holidays draws to a close in many parts of the world, most parents are now making preparations for another school year for their kids. Along with your hectic schedule as a parent, you will be having school meetings to attend, shopping to do, and most importantly a duty to ensure that your child arrives to and from school safely every day.
Well, crossing your fingers and wishing that nothing bad happens to your child while on the road is not enough. As a parent, you need to make sure that the ride to and from school is safe as well as enjoyable. Here are some safety tips to consider:
When dropping off
For younger children dropping and picking them up is the safest way to get them to school. Planning how you will be dropping and picking up your child safely can, however, be stressful, especially when doing it the first time. Here are a few tips that can help you drop off and pick up your child safely from school.
Avoid parking across the street
Having your kids cross the street to get to school after parking is dangerous. Your child can get injured or even killed as they dart between cars. Always use the designated drop off area to ensure that your child will not have to walk across get to school gate. If you still have to park across the street, always walk your child and help them cross the road.
Familiarize yourself with the school drop-off procedures
Every school has its own drop-off/pick-up procedures to be followed. These procedures are designed to ensure cars, and kids, get in and out of school efficiently. You can ask the principal or any other staff member of the school about the procedure and map for safe drop-offs.
If the procedure requires children to walk on designated crosswalks, then make sure you get your child to the crosswalk. Look out for any signs and posts that show direction and parking rules. This will help you drop off your child in a position that is convenient and safe for them.
Avoid rushing when late
Whipping the car around as you try to get your child to school on time is a recipe for tragedy, especially on a busy street. You’d better have your child late to school than get involved in an accident. It is important to follow all the safety rules when driving your child to school, even when late.
Always make sure that you leave a few minutes early to give yourself ample time to drop and pick up your child.
Stay alert while driving
Avoid car crashes by staying alert behind the wheel while taking your children to school. Avoid using your phone, eating, or any other distracting activities while driving. This will help stay focused and pay attention to other road users.
School bus users
Most parents prefer having their children take a bus to school rather than driving. Taking the school bus is in fact, safer than driving your children to school. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, students are 70 times safer when using a school bus than when travelling by car.
The greatest risk children face isn’t riding a school bus, but approaching or leaving one. Therefore you need to make sure that your child boards and alights safely each day. Here are some safety tips to help you avoid school bus related accidents.
Talk about safety on the bus with your children
You need to make sure that you ingrain the best road safety habits when taking a bus, especially with young children. This helps them to be safety conscious each day while riding on the bus to school.
You can also set rules for them to follow when on the road daily. Here are a few safety rules you can teach your child;
- Maintaining five giant steps from the curb
- Looking left-right-left before crossing the road after alighting the bus
- No horseplay at the bus stop while waiting to be picked up.
- Always wait for the bus to come to a complete halt before boarding or alighting the bus
For younger kids, always walk them to the bus stop
Be realistic about the pedestrian skills your child possesses. Consider whether or not your child is ready to walk and wait for the bus each day on their own and come back home safely. If you are not certain whether they can do it on their own, walk them to the bus stop every morning.
Avoid being too early
It is always good to teach your children about being mindful of time. But it is risky to have children arrive at the bus stop much earlier than the scheduled bus time. Ensure that your child gets to the bus stop only when it is reasonable to do so.
However, it is also essential to make sure that they leave home with plenty of time to get to the bus stop. This ensures that they will not be racing every morning to catch the bus.
Dress your child in bright clothing
During dark winter mornings and evenings, ensure that your child has bright clothes, visible enough to the other motorists. You can also put a reflective tape on their backpack or shoes. This adds to their visibility and safety overall when on the road.
Help them get a ‘bus buddy’
Since you will not be boarding the bus to school with your child, you can get a ‘bus buddy’ to help you look after your child while on the bus. This can be an elder child from the neighborhood, relative or a family friend in the same school as your child.
This can go a long way in creating a friend and someone your child can look up to for safety in school.
Make this school year safer by exercising care and caution with the above safety tips.