Back to school safety
Children across the state are returning to school this week. Shelton Public Schools are back in session next week on Tuesday Sept. 4.
Parents are buying school supplies and clothes by the truckload. Students call their friends to see what they are wearing the first day of school and preparing for sports tryouts.
Everyone remembers the excitement of the first day: Seeing all your friends after a long summer, lugging books, filling your desk, and chatting in the lunch room about the adventures you had over the past couple months. There isn't much like it.
We’ve all grown accustomed to the quiet summer mornings and afternoons, free of school bus stops and crossing guards. But now we need to be alert and remember that we’ll be seeing kids, laden with backpacks, walking and waiting at bus stops.
It is our responsibility as adults of the community to watch out for and protect our children. AAA has issued some tips for those of us out in the community, especially before and after school hours.
According to the AAA, the afternoon hours are particularly dangerous for walking children — over the last decade, nearly one-third of child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 and 7 p.m.
Here are some suggested precautions:
• Slow down. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
• Eliminate distractions. Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may emerge suddenly between two parked cars. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.
• Reverse responsibly. Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under or around vehicles — even those that are parked.
• Talk to your teen. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and more than one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 to 7 p.m. Get evidence-based guidance and tips at TeenDriving.AAA.com.
• Come to a complete stop. Research shows that more than one third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
• Watch for bicycles. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the bicycle. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet on every ride. Find videos, expert advice and safety tips at ShareTheRoad.AAA.com.
So, keep your eyes peeled when driving, get your children prepared, and rest assured that young minds everywhere are receiving the knowledge that will equip them to be successful and productive members of our community.