New backpacks, lunch bags and binders along with the change in Nova Scotia weather are all signs that it is time for children to go back-to-school. While it is an exciting time of year it is also important to go over some safety tips with your children for travelling to and from school. Whether they take the bus, are dropped off, or walk, ensuring their safety is paramount. Unfortunately, in the chaos of cars, buses and energetic kids, accidents can sometimes happen.
Because children are still learning and growing we don’t expect them to act the same way as adults do. The standard of care we expect of them – or how they act and respond in situations – is lower than what we would expect of adults. It is important to go over some basic safety tips with your children so they can travel safely and also act as role models for their classmates!
- While waiting for the bus children should stand a few feet away from the curb and only move towards the bus when it has come to a complete stop.
- Children should never push or shove each other when waiting for the bus. Adult supervision at bus stops is recommended.
- Children should never cross the road behind a bus. If children need to cross the road in front of the bus they should wait for the driver to signal that it is safe to walk.
- While pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks they still have the responsibility to act carefully and responsibly. For example, children should wait until cars have come to a complete stop before crossing the road.
- Teach children to make eye contact with drivers. Removing distractions like iPods and phones is a good way to make sure your children are not distracted.
- Teach children to obey the crossing guards at intersections and pay attention to all traffic lights.
- If your children are using bikes or scooters to get to school make sure they are wearing properly fitted helmets. (See:Bicycle Safety – What should I do if my child is injured?)
- As the summer days begin to shorten it is also important to make sure your children are visible when they walk home from school. Reflectors on backpacks and jackets can help drivers see them.
- Although it can be a hassle, it is important to obey any no-park and no-stop zones around a school area. These rules ensure that all children are safe when arriving at school.
- It is a serious offence for a car to pass a school bus while it has its red lights flashing. Drivers can be fined $337.50 and lose 5 points off their driver’s licence.