Keeping Your Kids Safe on Their Way to School

Loving parents will step between a speeding car and their children to protect them. Times come, though, when moms and dads can't be there - but the speeding cars are. One such time is the start of school in Florida.

If your child is a walker, bus rider, car-pooler, or driver, there are four R's that spell back-to-school safety: rules, route, readiness, and resources. Kids need to know the rules of the road (or sidewalk), a safe route, and what to do should the unexpected happen. And you need resources to help make you a good back-to-school safety teacher.

Walking to School

Teaching kids how to walk to and from school safely is a good start. The St. Lucie County School District encourages parents to review the Pedestrian Safer Journey website. It has age-specific videos, related quizzes, and a resource library.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and Healthychildren.org also offer a useful webpage for young pedestrians, Safety on the Way to School. It includes safety tips for children who are riding the bus, biking, and driving. The site's recommendations include:

  • Pick a safe route. If the child is old enough to go it alone, be sure to walk the route together beforehand.
  • Make sure there are crossing guards at every intersection.
  • Be aware of lighting. Will it be daylight? Are there streetlights?

Riding a Bike to School

For kids who have the muscle and meddle to pedal a bicycle, the nonprofit National Safety Council's Back to School Safety Checklist is helpful. It hits the basics, including staying safe on a bicycle.

Knowing the rules of the road is critical, but they vary, so check with law enforcement for local laws. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office warns:

  • If you're 15 or younger, wear a helmet. It's the law.
  • If you must ride on the street, go with the flow of traffic.
  • You may ride on sidewalks but must yield to pedestrians.
  • Have a white light on the front and a red light on the rear if you're riding in the dark.
  • And remember, you can be ticketed if you violate traffic laws.

Riding on the School Bus

The National Safety Council says the safest way for a kid to get to and from school is that big yellow bus. "Riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in the family vehicle and 10 times safer than walking," according to the council. It suggests the following safety tips:

Waiting for the bus: Steer clear of traffic and careless behavior. Stay out of streets and alleys and off private property. Stay away from the street and the bus as it pulls up, and wait until it stops before approaching.

On the bus: Don't distract the driver. Stay in your seat, and don't hang your head or arms out of the window.

Getting off the bus: Stay seated until the bus is motionless. If you must cross the street, walk 10 or more feet ahead of the bus. Once the driver sees you and signals you to cross, look both ways and stay alert.

Driving or Riding with Friends

For parents with teen drivers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "5 to Drive" rules recommend:

  • No cellphones while driving
  • No extra passengers
  • No speeding
  • No alcohol
  • No driving or riding without a seat belt

What If Your Child Is Hurt on the Way to School?

If your child suffers an injury on the way to or from school ─ be it at a bus stop, on a bus, on a bicycle, while walking, or while sharing a ride with an acquaintance ─ the place to go for answers is the law firm of Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Ryles. With offices in West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie, our dedicated personal injury lawyers will assess your claim and fight for maximum compensation for injuries.

When faced with a personal injury case, don't go it alone. Contact Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Ryles today to schedule a free consultation.

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