Bus rides and crosswalks: keeping kids safe going to school

- Going back to school is an exciting time of year for kids, and the Kohl's Injury Prevention Program at the Children's Hospital of Michigan and Safe Kids Metro Detroit wants to help keep kids safe this school year.

Renee Zarr with the Injury Prevention Coordinator at the Children's Hospital of Michigan joins us in studio to give us some advice for helping kids maneuver everything from bus rides to cross walks.

School Bus Safety
School buses are the safest mode of motorized transportation for getting children to and from school, but injuries can occur if kids are not careful and aware when getting on and off the bus.

Top Tips for School Bus Safety

  • Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. Tell kids to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time.
  • Teach kids to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting off and never to walk behind the bus.
  • If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, he or she should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver indicates it's safe. Teach kids to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
  • Instruct younger kids to use handrails when boarding or exiting the bus. Be careful of straps or drawstrings that could get caught in the door. If your children drop something, they should tell the bus driver and make sure the bus driver is able to see them before they pick it up.
  • Drivers should always follow the speed limit and slow down in school zones and near bus stops. Remember to stay alert and look for kids who may be trying to get to or from the school bus.
  • Slow down and stop if you're driving near a school bus that is flashing yellow or red lights. This means the bus is either preparing to stop (yellow) or already stopped (red), and children are getting on or off.
  • Pedestrian
  • Unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death in the United States for children ages 5 to 19. Teenagers are now at greatest risk. Teens have a death rate twice that of younger children and account for half of all child pedestrian deaths.

Top Tips

  • Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Then remind them to continue looking until safely across.
  • Teach kids to put phones, headphones and devices down when crossing the street. It is particularly important to reinforce this message with teenagers.
  • It's always best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
  • Children under 10 need to cross the street with an adult. Every child is different, but developmentally, most kids are unable to judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars until age 10.
  • Be a good role model. Set a good example by putting your phone, headphones and devices down when walking around cars.
  • Passenger Safety
  • Car seats and seat belts
  • Everyone should ride in a car seat, booster seat or seat belt, based on individual age, weight and height.

Vehicle seats
Ensure that each child under 13 is riding in a back seat. Drive only as many occupants as there are seat belts.

Exiting the car
Make sure that all children exit the car on the curb side. Once children exit the car, wait until they are safely supervised before driving off.

Never leave kids alone in a car
While it may be tempting to dash out for a minute while your kids are sitting peacefully in their car seats, the temperature inside your car can rise very quickly and cause heatstroke. Remember to lock your car when you are done driving so kids can't get in on their own.

For more safety information, please visit: www.childrensdmc.org/kipp.

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