Back to School: Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe
It’s hard to believe that summer is over and the kids have gone back to school. The change of seasons is a good time to revisit some of the potential hazards our children face when they are out of the house – just because they are no longer under our immediate supervision doesn’t mean we stop being their parents. As an accident law firm, we see many children who are injured in accidents that may have been avoided with some forethought.
Teach Your Kids to Stay on the Sidewalk
If your child walks to and from school, it is important that they understand the importance of staying on the sidewalk at all times. Pedestrian accidents are far more common than they realize, often caused by speeding and driver inattention. Children can find themselves in the street while walking to or from school as a result of playing or simply as a result of being distracted by the other children. Emphasize the importance of being aware of where they are at all times and staying out of the street except when they need to cross.
Teach Your Kids to Use the Crosswalk
Of course, your child will most likely need to cross the street at some point. Many pedestrian accidents occur when people “jaywalk” or cross the street at some point other than the crosswalk. Children will often cross the street impulsively, outside of any crosswalk. Whether marked or unmarked, a crosswalk provides better visibility for drivers and pedestrians. You should also teach your child the importance of obeying any walk/don’t walk signals and looking both ways before entering the intersection.
Make Your Kids Visible
As the days get shorter, some kids will be walking to or from school or the bus stop when visibility is poor. Consider getting your kids jackets or other pieces of clothing with reflective trim. Reflective belts or vests are additional options. Runners will use LED-powered headlamps and other lights to increase visibility for themselves and make them more visible to others, something that could also work for school kids. Even buying your children lighter-colored outerwear rather than dark colors could make a difference when it comes to their visibility. At a minimum, help your child to understand that they will not be easily seen by drivers during early morning or late afternoon hours.
Bus Stop Safety
If you have young children, the best thing to do is to walk them to the bus stop and wait for the bus to come. Older children may be able to walk themselves to the bus stop, but they should be made aware of the potential dangers while waiting. Encourage your child to avoid horseplay that can result in one or more kids winding up in the street. Children should stand a few steps back from the curb and wait calmly for the bus to arrive.
Safety While Riding the Bus
Bus accidents happen, and school buses still do not have seatbelts. As a result, it is important for children to remain seated, mind the driver’s instructions, and not create any unnecessary distractions.
Tell Your Kids to Keep Their Ears Open and Their Eyes on Their Surroundings
Smartphones and earbuds have become a part of every child’s life. Unfortunately, these devices mean that they are no longer paying attention to their surroundings. Children will get off the bus and distractedly walk onto the road as their attention is absorbed by their phone or their music. Teach them to put their phones away and take their earbuds out while walking to and from school or the bus stop. This way they can see or hear approaching cars or other hazards.
Older Kids Need to Be Safety-Conscious Too
While most of these suggestions focus on younger children, older kids arguably face just as many hazards, if not more. If your teen drives or gets a ride to school from a friend, you need to emphasize the importance of wearing their seatbelt and the dangers of distracted driving. Otherwise, they need to understand the importance of being aware and attentive to their surroundings while walking to and from school or the bus stop.
Contact an Accident Law Firm Who Can Help if Your Child Has Been Injured
At the Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles, we know how overwhelming it can be if your child has suffered a serious injury. We can help you get the compensation your child will need to rebuild their life. To discuss your case and what we can do for them, contact us today at 301-705-5006 to schedule a free consultation.