2018-2019 Back to School Safety Tips for Students and Parents

Posted in Car Accident on August 8, 2018

Summer is drawing to a close, and students report back to class this week in Davidson County and other school districts throughout Middle Tennessee.

It can be difficult for both students and parents to get back into the schoolyear mindset, especially after the summer break. But it’s important for everyone in your family to focus on safety, as new challenges and risks arise when school is back in session.

Whether you drive your children to school or they walk, ride the bus, or carpool with other children, the journey to and from school can be the most dangerous part of the day for students. As a parent, it’s important to do everything in your power to keep your kids safe, and a big part of that is teaching them how to avoid accidents and reduce their risks.

At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident lawyers know that being safety-conscious is the best way to reduce the chances of being involved in auto, bus, or pedestrian accidents, but it can’t eliminate those risks entirely. If you, your child, or someone you love gets hurt in a road accident, we want to help. Contact us today at (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online form to find out how we can fight for your rights.

Get Your Children to and From School Safely

If you drive your children to school in the mornings or pick them up in the afternoons, you’re responsible for their safety every day. There are a few safety tips that you and your children can follow to make your daily commutes to school and back home safer:

  • Make sure your children buckle up or ride in age-appropriate seats—If you have young children in pre-school or early elementary school, be sure they ride in booster seats if they’re height or weight requires it. All children under the age of 13 should always ride in the backseat. Set a good example for your children by always buckling up, and make sure their seat belts are buckled before you leave your driveway or your child’s school.
  • Never drop off or pick up your children across the street from their destination or location—Crossing the street is one of the biggest risks that kids face—even when they’re walking or running to their parents’ vehicles. You can keep your kids safe by always dropping them off or picking them up near the sidewalk or designated areas. If you have to drop off or pick up across the street, do so only in areas with crosswalks and crossing guards to help ensure that your children are able to cross the street safely.

3 Ways Your Children Can Stay Safe while Walking to School

If you live near your child’s school, you may elect to allow him or her to walk there and back in the mornings and afternoons. Experts recommend not allowing children under the age of 10 walk to school alone, but other experts say there’s no magic age and that it’s up to parents to decide. If your child begins walking to school, there are two important ways he or she can stay safe:

  • Teach your children to use sidewalks and crosswalks—The safest place for all pedestrians is sidewalks and crosswalks. They should always be used whenever they’re available. When walking in crosswalks, make sure your children know to look both ways, even when they have a walk signal or have the right of way. In addition, make sure your child sticks to the same safe route every day.
  • Give your children light-colored and reflective clothing to wear—One of the most effective ways that pedestrians, including children, can improve their safety is by improving their visibility to drivers. Because children may walk to school early in the morning when visibility is still low, it’s important that they are easily seen by drivers. You can help make your children more visible to others by buying them clothing and shoes that are brightly colored and reflective. Some backpacks are also designed to increase the visibility of person wearing them.
  • Make sure your children know how to follow traffic and crossing guard signals—If your children will be walking to school for the first time this upcoming school year, walk the route to and from their school a few times with them and make sure they understand what traffic signals mean. In addition, arranging a time for them to meet crossing guards in your neighborhood or near their school can also ease the transition and give you peace of mind. Finally, be sure to remind your child that following the crossing guard’s instructions, including when to wait and when to cross the street, is the best way to stay safe.

Share These School Bus Safety Tips with Your Kids

Statistically, riding the bus is one of the safest ways that your kids can get to and from school every day.

However, after a few highly publicized bus accidents in recent years, including a fatal bus crash in Hamilton County in 2015, many parents are understandably concerned about their children when they ride buses twice per day, five days per week.

There are a few important steps parents should make sure their kids follow to keep them safe when entering, riding on, and exiting their school buses on school days:

  • Cross the street at crosswalks before entering or after exiting the bus—One of the biggest risk factors for kids when it comes to bus-related accidents is approaching or walking away from school buses. Kids are much more likely to be struck by vehicles when they cross streets outside of crosswalks—especially when they run out into the road by entering it front of the bus or behind the bus and in front of another vehicle and they don’t look both ways. Most bus stops are located near crosswalks, and it’s essential to teach your children to use them in the mornings and afternoons.
  • Use all safety features available on the bus—Some buses in Middle Tennessee are equipped with seat belts. If your child’s bus has seat belts, be sure that he or she buckles up in the mornings and afternoons. In addition, make sure your child and his or her classmates know how to operate emergency exits on buses, which are located on the sides, rears, and roofs of all school buses. Emergency exits can save dozens of lives when they’re used after accidents or in situations where children may otherwise be trapped on buses.
  • After exiting the bus, walk ahead several steps before crossing the street—Many bus-related pedestrian accidents occur when bus riders walk in front of buses in the area where drivers have blind spots. That’s especially dangerous for small children, as it may be even more difficult for bus drivers to see them. If your children use a crosswalk that’s located in front of the bus, make sure they know to walk forward several steps to be visible to the bus driver before they enter the street.