How Children (and Drivers) Can Minimize the Risk of a Serious Accident & Injuries on the Way to School

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School has been back in session for a good while now, and after a few weeks of novelty, parents and the kids have probably settled into something of a daily routine. While routines are beneficial in some ways because they allow us to subconsciously handle simple tasks while our conscious mind can focus on other tasks, falling into a rote, unthinking routine can have downsides. For one, the individual may not fully realize where he or she is or the surrounding dangers. This can lead to mistakes that lead to significant and serious accidents producing life-changing injuries.

As such, this post is intended as a resource for parents to remind children about safety while walking or biking to school and riding the bus to school.

What Safety Steps Should Parents Ensure a Child Takes When Walking or Biking to School?

Students who walk or bike to school receive the benefit of exercise, fresh-air, and ample sunlight. While walking or bicycling to school is typically a safe means of travel, mistakes or youthful exuberance can sometimes result in dangerous situations where the risk of an accident is significantly greater than normal. Children who walk to school are the safest when they are accompanied by an adult. However there are other important things parents can instruct their child to do. This safety advice should include:

  • Children are the safest when they walk on a sidewalk. If a sidewalk is not available, the child should walk as far from traffic as possible. Kids should stand-up to their friends if they suggest walking in the street.
  • Children should be instructed to walk without using their cell phone or other electronic device. A child who has his or her eyes focused on a screen is less likely to notice and react appropriately to threats and hazards that can cause serious injury.
  • Children should also be instructed to cross where there is a crossing guard. If a guard is not present then children should always cross at the corner, where there is a crosswalk, or when they have a signal to walk.
  • As the weather turns to fall and the hours of daylight become shorter, children who wear bright colors are more noticeable to motorists and drivers and less likely to be hit by a car.

For children who bicycle to school, safety begins with parents sitting down with the child and mapping out the safest route to the school. Streets with lesser traffic volumes and features designed to protect bikers should be favored over other streets. Parents should make sure adequate reflectors or lights are present on the bike. Furthermore, all kids who bike to school should wear a safety helmet. Finally, kids should never use electronic devices while riding. Distracted bike riding can be extremely danger and lead to severe injuries.

What is the Safest Way for Kids to Board and Exit a School Bus?

Children who take the school bus must still find their way to the school bus stop. Therefore, the above safety tips for walking and biking should not be discounted simply because the child takes the bus for part of his or her trip to school. Important instructions parents and caregivers can give to improve bus safety are:

  • Kids should stand at least 6 feet or three giant steps away from the curb while waiting for the bus. Children who maintain this distance are less likely to stumble or be pushed into the way of an arriving bus.
  • Children should not run up to the bus doors to be first to board. Kids should be instructed to wait for the bus driver to give a signal for them to board.
  • When kids board the bus they should try to find a seat quickly to minimize the chance that they fall due to the sudden start of the vehicle.
  • When children exit the bus, they should never cross the street immediately in front of the bus. While most buses have yellow or orange poles that should swing out and prevent kids from doing this, they should still be instructed to cross at least 10 feet (5 or more giant steps) in front of the bus.

Was Your Child Injured in a School Bus or Another School-related Accident?

If your child has been severely injured by a motorist or by a school bus on his or her way to school, call the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak. For more than 20 years Ken Kieklak has fought for people injured to others’ negligence. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation call (479) 251-7767 today or contact us online.

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