Back-to-school safety

School has started for many students and with that comes the back-to-school hustle and bustle.

School has started for many students and with that comes the back-to-school hustle and bustle — kids walking, running and biking through neighborhoods and yellow school buses cruising the streets.

“Whether children walk, ride their bicycle or take the bus to school, it is extremely important that they — and those around them — take proper safety precautions,” said Sharon Rengers, R.N., manager of Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness.

“Drivers should double- and triple-check intersections,” she said. “Just when you think everything is safe, a child can seemingly appear out of nowhere and dart across the street when you least expect it. Making full stops at stop signs and red lights before turning will give you the time you need to be completely sure the coast is clear.”

Rengers advises drivers to also scan the road constantly when entering a marked school zone.

“More bus passengers are killed while unloading or loading each year than are killed while traveling inside a school bus,” she said. “When a school bus stops with its red brake lights flashing and/or its stop sign raised, you must stop from either direction until all kids are safely across the street and the bus lights stop flashing.”

Additional tips for motorists

  •  Do not block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn.
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.

Tips for kids

  • Wear light-colored clothing or reflective bands on clothes to make it easier for drivers to see you.
  • Before crossing a street, look left, right, left again over your shoulder. Keep looking until you get to the other side.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk, if one is available. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing the traffic.
  • After you exit a bus, never walk behind it.
  • If you have to walk in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk next to the bus for at least 10 feet, make sure the driver sees you, and then cross.
  • When riding your bike, always wear a helmet and don’t wear headphones. The music can distract you from noises around you, such as a car blowing its horn.
  • Always cross at the corner and use the crosswalk.
  • Walk, don’t ride, your bike across busy intersections.
  • Ride your bike on the right side of the street so you travel in the same direction as cars do. Never ride against traffic.
  • Stop your bike at all stop signs and obey traffic lights just as cars do.

About the expert: Sharon Rengers, R.N., is the manager of child advocacy at Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness.