Back to School Safety Tips

Trauma/Burn Outreach and Injury Prevention Services at Regional Medical Center at Memphis want you to stay safe and healthy throughout this new school year.

Every year school buses transport millions of children to and from school and school-related activities. Millions of other children rely on walking to and from school or the bus stop. Pedestrian crashes are a serious safety problem for school-age children. Thousands are injured and hundreds die each year. Remember, children are not small adults. Young children do not have the skills to handle traffic. 

Here are some simple rules to follow to help your children safe.

  • Teach your children to keep “5 giant steps” or 10 feet away from all sides of the school bus. Teach them that if they can’t see the driver’s face, he/she can’t see them.
  • Teach your children to stay “5 giant steps” or 10 feet from the edge of the sidewalk until the bus comes to a stop and the door is opened. Then they should get on in a single file. They should also get off in a single file.
  • When on the bus, teach your children to sit back in their seats with their hands and feet to themselves, to never put anything out the window, and to keep the aisle free of books, bags, etc. 
  • If your child drops something getting off of the bus, teach him/her to let the bus driver know before picking it up.
  • Teach your children to ALWAYS use crosswalks or intersections. When there are no sidewalks, walk facing the traffic so you can see the cars coming. 
  • The “WALK” signal and green light only mean that it is their turn to cross. They do not mean it is SAFE to cross.  Always look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT before crossing and continue to look both ways as they cross. If they drop something while crossing, teach them to continue to the other side of the street and then wait until it is their turn and there is no traffic coming to retrieve what was dropped.
  • Children are short and that makes it difficult to see them behind or beside objects such as shrubs, parked cars and other curbside obstructions. Teach your children to always look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT before crossing any street.
  • Children have underdeveloped peripheral vision so they don’t see as far to the sides. They also believe that if they can see a car, the driver can see them. This is not true. Teach your children to make sure they can see the driver’s face.  Then teach them to wave at the driver to make sure he/she sees them.
  • Children have a difficult time judging distance and a car’s speed. They may believe that the car can stop instantly.  Teach your child to remain on the sidewalk, “5 giant steps” or 10 feet away from the edge, until the roadway is clear or all vehicles have come to a complete stop before crossing when it is their turn. 
  • Have an adult walk with your children to school or the bus stop each morning at least during the first week of school. Teach your children to be safety conscious. Set a good example and let your children know how important they are to you.

 Source:  Federal Highway Traffic Safety