With classes starting up soon, the safety of children walking to and from school is once again a priority.
Injuries from pedestrian-versus-vehicle incidents are some of the top reasons people — including ̅kids — end up in the trauma center, said Eliana Troncale, Injury Prevention Outreach Specialist at Community Regional Medical Center.
These can include broken bones and trauma to the brain — injuries that can take a long time to recover from, even years.
Tips to stay safe
The speed limit in school zones is 25 miles per hour. In addition to slowing down, staying off your phone and watching out for kids in crosswalks, keep these safety tips in mind:
1. Be aware of time. Things can be hectic in the morning when you’re rushing around trying to get yourself and your family to work and school. Giving yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go decreases the need to speed — especially through school zones.
2. Stop for buses. It’s tempting to want to swerve around stopped school buses, but that’s not only dangerous, it can be illegal. If a school bus is flashing yellow lights, it’s preparing to stop — and you should be slowing down too.
Flashing red lights and a visible stop sign mean the bus is stopped for children who are loading or unloading. Your car must be at a complete stop at least 20 feet behind a school bus that’s flashing red lights, no matter which side of the road you’re on. It’s safe to continue driving once the red lights are no longer flashing, the stop sign is no longer visible and you’ve made sure there are no children crossing the street.
3. Talk to your kids about pedestrian safety. Modeling good habits is the best way to teach your kids how to be safe around cars, said Troncale. Show them how to look both ways, use crosswalks and signals, and be aware of their surroundings at all times. As an added precaution, if you drop off and pick up your child, use school-designated areas so your student isn’t dashing through traffic to meet you.
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