Back To School Safety From Safe Kids Grand Forks

As autumn rolls in and summer winds down, we find our kids back in school. By fall, many safety tips that were taught during the previous school year are long forgotten. Safe Kids Grand Forks would like to remind parents to discuss the following safety tips with your children as they head back to school.
Remember to follow the Safe Kids Walk This Way four pillar program!

Pillar 1: Pedestrian Safety
1. Cross streets only at corners and in crosswalks. Do not cross until the light is in your favor.
2. Look left, look right, and left again before stepping into the street. Also, make sure to keep looking left and right as you cross.
3. When stepping out in front of traffic, assure that the tires of the car have stopped moving and you have made eye contact with the driver.
4. Wear light colored clothing or a reflective device if walking in low light conditions.
5. Never run across the street!
6. Walk facing traffic and as far to the left as possible when sidewalks are not available.
7. Provide children under age 10 supervision while walking and crossing streets.
8. Always model safety behaviors to children.
9. Remind children to NEVER walk out into the street between two parked cars.

Pillar 2: School Bus Safety
1. When the bus approaches, stand at least 3 giant steps (six feet) away from the curb.
2. Wait until the bus stops, the door opens and the driver says it is okay to get on.
3. If you have to cross the street in front of a bus, walk in a crosswalk and be sure the driver sees you and you can see the driver.
4. Get to the bus stop about 5 minutes early so you are not in a hurry.
5. Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.
6. When the bus is moving, sit on the seat and do not stand or walk in the aisle.

Pillar 3: Motor Vehicle Safety
1. Children ages 12 and under should ride in the rear vehicle seat so they are not in front of an active air bag. Air bags can kill or injure children when they are deployed.
2. All people in the vehicle should be buckled-up on each and every ride.
3. There should only be one person per seat belt.
4. A lap and shoulder belt is much safer than just a lap belt alone.
5. 4 out of 5 car and booster seats are used incorrectly. Be sure to read the seat’s owner’s manual and the vehicle instruction manual to assure that you are using the seat correctly. Safe Kids Grand Forks has monthly car seat check-up events where certified child passenger safety technicians will assist you with your car seat questions and inspect your seat for recalls and correct use.

Vehicle reminders for drivers:
1. When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
2. When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking about getting there safely.
3. Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood.
4. Slow down. Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
5. Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus or school may dart into the street without looking.
6. Be aware of crosswalks on the street and stop before the crosswalk, not IN them.
7. Children should exit the vehicle on the “grass” or “curb” side so they don’t get out directly into oncoming traffic.

Pillar 4: Bike Safety
1. The most important bike safety tip is WEAR A HELMET at all times. Bike helmets are 85% effective in preventing head injuries that can injure or kill someone. Get a helmet that fits correctly and wear it on each and every ride.
2. Safe Kids Grand Forks distributes bike helmets for $8.00 and multi-sport helmets for $12.00. Bike helmets are worn only for riding a bike, but a multi-sport helmet can be used for riding a bike, scooter, in-line skates or a skateboard. To obtain a helmet from Safe Kids e-mail
3. Bicycles have all the rights of a vehicle on the roadway and must obey the laws for vehicles. Use bike paths when available.
4. Never hang onto a car or let someone tow a bike and rider with a car.
5. When driving on the roadway, stay as far to the right as possible, but watch out for parked cars and for cars going the same direction as you on the roadway. Pass carefully.
6. When driving a bicycle, don’t carry anything in your hands or on the bicycle that will prevent you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars. One seat = one rider. Pegs are not for carrying other children, they are for tricks.
7. Use proper hand signals when turning or stopping.

For more information, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

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