Whether your child walks, rides the bus, or is driven to school, here are some important tips from Safe Kids Mid-South, led by Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Review these with your children and get off to a safe start.Tips for School Bus Riders • Don’t play in the street while waiting for the bus. • Carry all loose belongings in a backpack. • Line up facing the bus, not along side it. • When getting off, move immediately onto the sidewalk and out of traffic after getting off the bus. • Wait for a signal from the bus driver before crossing the street and walk at least 10 steps away from the front of the bus so the driver can see you. • Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing. • Never reach under the school bus to get anything that has fallen beneath it. Wait until the bus moves on. Tips for Pedestrians and Bike Riders • Always travel with a buddy. Find a friend you can walk or ride to school with. • Wear reflective or bright-colored clothing to increase visibility. • Respect traffic lights and street signs. Hold your child’s hand and look left-right- left before crossing the street. Have your child do the same. • Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. • Wear pant clips to avoid clothing getting caught in spokes or pedals.Tips for Car Passengers • Make sure young children ride in child safety seats or booster seats at all times, and that the seats have been properly installed. For help to properly install, make an appointment with Safe Kids Mid-South (287-6730). • For safety’s sake, children should ride in the back until age 13. • Never leave a child alone in a car for any reason.Reminders for Car Drivers • Slow down. Be especially alert in the residential neighborhoods and school zones. • Take extra time to look for children at intersections, on medians, and on curbs. • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully. • Watch for children on and near the road around school hours. • Remember that many car crashes occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from school. Limit the number of passengers teens carry to prevent driver distraction. Do not allow your teen to drive while eating, drinking, talking, or texting on a cell phone. (That’s a good rule for parents, too. As drivers, we need to concentrate on the road and our surroundings). • Safe Kids Mid-South urges parents to take this Back To School Pledge: “I pledge to eliminate distractions while I drive, especially in school zones”.
Train Safety If you are waiting for a train to pass, or whenever you are near train tracks, always stand at least 10 giant steps away from the tracks. • Remember: trains cannot stop quickly. • Listen for warning bells and whistles. • Look both ways before crossing the tracks. • If one train passes, make sure that another train is not approaching on another track. • Always walk your bike across the tracks. • Never try to beat a train; the train always wins. • Remember that walking on tracks is dangerous and against the law.
— Susan Helms, R.N. M.A.L.S., is the director of injury prevention for Safe Kids Mid-South, led by Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Safe Kids is part of a worldwide campaign and dedicated solely to the prevention of accidental injuries to children age 14 and under — the number-one health risk children face today. Safe Kids Mid-South raises awareness about preventing injury, provides information and skills to make the environment safer, and helps pass laws for children’s safety. • For more information, call 287-6730 or go to lebonheur.org/safekids