It’s that time of year when parents and children prepare to go back to school. Many of us associate the start of a new school year with traffic and chaos, but no matter how crazy your commute to and from your child’s school may be we know that their safety is a top priority. Here are some tips to make your child’s arrival and departure from school as safe as possible.

Parents or caregivers driving to/from school should:

  • Plan ahead and arrive early for drop-off and pick-up
  • Slow down; obey all traffic laws and speed limits, both in school zones and in neighborhoods surrounding the school
  • Comply with your school’s drop-off and pick-up procedures for the safety of all children around the school
  • Stay alert and put down cell phones or anything else that might distract you
  • Avoid double parking or stopping on crosswalks to let children out of the car
  • Avoid loading or unloading children at locations across the street from the school
  • Watch for children walking or bicycling in areas near schools
  • Watch for children playing and gathering near bus stops
  • Watch for children arriving late for the bus, who may dart into the street without looking
  • Watch for children walking or biking to school when backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage

Teaching children, who walk or bike to school, safe behaviors is very important too.

Children walking to/from school should:

  • Cross only at crosswalks
  • Never walk while texting or talking on the phone
  • Never cross the street while using an electronic device
  • Never walk with headphones on
  • Wear bright clothing to increase visibility
  • Always be aware of their surroundings
  • Always walk on the sidewalk if there is one available
  • Always look left, right, over their shoulder for turning cars and then left again before crossing the street

Children bicycling to/from school should:

  • Always wear a bike helmet, no matter how long or short the ride
  • Be acquainted with traffic laws and must follow the same rules as motorists
  • Know their bike’s capabilities
  • Ride on the right in the same direction as traffic and watch for opening car doors and other hazards
  • Use hand signals when turning and use extra care at intersections
  • Always stop and look left, right, left again and over their shoulder before entering traffic
  • Wear bright clothing to increase visibility