Back to school safety tips

  • Published
  • By Bert Stamm
  • 23rd Wing Safety Office chief of ground safety
With the beginning of each new school year in fall, there are many safety concerns that people should keep in mind. Here are a few items to remember regarding travel to and from school.

Riding the bus
Last year, 26 children were killed as pedestrians while getting on or off a bus or while waiting at the school bus stop. Another five were killed as passengers.
Despite these figures, fatal crashes involving school bus occupants are extremely rare events, even though school buses serve daily in every community.
Every school day, some 450,000 yellow school buses transport more than 24 million children to and from schools and school-related activities. From a different perspective, it is the equivalent of the populations of Florida, Massachusetts and Oregon riding on a school bus twice every day, almost always without a serious incident.

To help reduce the possibility of any mishaps, children should remember these safety tips:
- Have a safe place to wait for the bus, away from traffic and the street.
- Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals you to enter.
- When being dropped off, exit the bus and walk 10 giant steps away from the bus, while keeping a safe distance from the bus. Also, remember that the bus driver can see you best when you are back away from the bus.
- Use the handrail to enter and exit the bus.
- Stay away from the bus until the driver gives their signal that it's okay to approach.
-Be aware of the street traffic around you. Drivers are required to follow certain rules of the road concerning school buses. However, they don't always follow these rules, so protect yourself and watch out.

Walking and biking to school
Even if you don't ride in a motor vehicle, you still have to protect yourself. Because of minimal supervision, young pedestrians face a wide variety of decision-making situations and dangers while walking to and from school. Here are a few basic safety tips for them to follow:
- Mind all traffic signals and crossing guards. Never cross the street against a light, even if you don't see any traffic coming.
- Walk your bike through intersections.
- Walk with a buddy.
- Wear reflective material-- it makes you more visible to street traffic.

Riding in a car
- It is true that most traffic crashes occur close to home.
-Safety belts are the best form of protection passengers have in the event of a crash. According to the National Safety Council, they can lower your risk of injury by 50 percent.
- You are four times more likely to be seriously injured or killed if ejected from the vehicle in a crash.
- Everyone needs to be buckled up properly. This means older children in seat belts, younger children in booster seats and little children in child safety seats.