As your children head back to class this fall, please spend some time talking about ways they can stay safe when getting to and from their school.
1. Watch for speeding cars in school zones.
Despite clear signage and flashing lights, many drivers plow right through school zones at high speed, not watching for pedestrians. They may not realize the distance needed to stop, even at low speeds:
At 20 miles an hour, you need more than 25 feet.
Children must use extreme caution around traffic. But speeding vehicles aren’t the only danger your child needs to know about. Below are 4 more hazards.
2. Stay safe when Riding the Bus
Every school day, approximately 25 million students across the country start and end their day on a school bus. Riding the bus is much safer than walking or riding in the family car, but getting to school by bus still poses its share of danger.
Children walking to and waiting at bus stops encounter some of the same lead-footed drivers as in school zones.
And getting on and off the bus also can be dangerous if the driver can’t see your child. Make sure your child knows to:
- Stay out of the street while waiting for the bus.
- Wait until the bus fully stops and the doors open before going near.
- Hold onto the handrail when getting on or off the bus.
3. Avoid Swimming Pools and Frozen Ponds
In the summer, most people have their swimming pools open and ready to use. Make sure your child knows never to go inside a fence where there’s a swimming pool, even if other kids do so.
During the winter in northern states, children often skate across ponds and other natural bodies of water. But they need to know:
Falling through ice causes almost instant hypothermia, and your child’s body will lose heat 32 times faster in water than in air.
Teach your child never to walk across a frozen body of water. Even if the ice looks thick, she could fall through.
Going into a pond or lake isn’t safe in warm weather, either:
Your child should understand that he can be electrocuted. Short-circuiting wiring from a boat, pump or dock can pulse electric current through the water.
4. Be Careful around Railroad Tracks
For some reason, walking on railroad tracks has always held an attraction for kids. But walking on tracks is extremely dangerous:
Doing so kills about 1,200 people every year in the United States.
Make sure your child understands the danger of walking on tracks. Trains move at high rates of speed. And they take a long time to stop.
By the time your child hears the train, it may be too late to get out of the way.
5. Avoid Strangers
Even if your child knows not to talk to strangers, predators use all kinds of tricks to come across as trustworthy, ordinary and friendly to kids. Infamous serial killers have used ruses like telling children their house was on fire or they need help finding a lost pet.