When summer begins winding down, and the new school year begins, family life changes focus from finding fun summer activities to being centered around all the things associated with attending school. Adhering to a schedule should make things more organized, but often creates a different sort of chaos as families are pressed for time. This can cause both parents and students to become distracted or harried and can lead to forgetting things and even creating accidents due to all the rushing around.
There are some things that parents can review with their children and also remind themselves of regarding back to school safety. This builds confidence if your child is graduating to a more advanced grade, or if you just moved with your child to a new school district. Today we will share some of the tips that we have collected through experience and research.
Getting to School
If children walk or ride their bikes to school, it is good to empower them to be responsible and take an active role in their own safety, if they encounter someone who may be distracted and not paying close enough attention to what is happening around them.
For children who are walking, remind them of these basic safety rules
• Do not walk while wearing headphones • Do not text or talk on the phone while walking • Do not run into the street from between or behind parked cars • Look both ways before crossing the street • Walk on the sidewalk if there is not one available, walk on the edge of the street facing traffic.
Children who ride bicycles to school should keep these things in mind
• Wear bright colored clothing • Always wear a helmet that fits properly • Stop before crossing the street and look both ways • Walk the bike across the street • Use hand signals for turning • If riding with friends ride single-file on the right side of the road
Students who take the bus to school should remember these things
• Wait six feet away from the curb as the bus approaches • When on the bus wait for it to come to a complete stop before standing up • If possible, do not cross the street from in front of the bus • If you must cross in front of the bus, get 10 ft. ahead of it so that you can see oncoming cars
Children should be reminded about how to keep themselves safe while on the way to school, adults should always remain vigilant and aware of the children around them if they are driving their own students to school. This is easily achieved when practicing courtesy during pick-up and drop-off.
Best practices or driving students to and from school
• Be extra observant in school zones and yield to pedestrians.
• Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped for pedestrians • Do not pass school buses that are loading and unloading children • Stop at least 10 ft back from a school bus so that children may enter and exit it safely • Do not double park • Do not load or unload students across the street from the school
Children on bicycles pose a different hazard than adult bicyclists or pedestrians. Children are usually unable to assess traffic conditions, and this usually requires extra attention on the part of adult driver. Adults need to watch closely for bicyclists coming out from in between cars or out of driveways, and also for turning without signaling first.
Best practices for kids on bicycles
• Allow three feet between your vehicle and a cyclist when passing them • Allow approaching bicyclist to pass before you make a left-hand turn • When making a right-hand turn and a cyclist is behind you, allow them to go through the intersection first • Always check your mirrors before opening your car door
These safety guidelines apply whether your child is attending Lake Travis ISD or Marble Falls ISD. Know the specific rules and guidelines for picking up and dropping off children set forth by their schools. Review these rules with your children and discuss with them your family procedures such as meeting places for dropping off after school. By planning ahead, adhering to safe driving practices and teaching your children to follow safety rules, heading back to school will be a little calmer and a lot safer for your children and their classmates.