Safety is a test given daily with school in session

Hard to believe, but it’s almost time for school again. Fort Frye students return to classes Thursday, and the rest of the area’s elementary, middle school and high school students head back to class next week.

We want to urge everyone to be safe on the way to school, in class, and on the way home from school each and every day. We’re not talking about violence in schools that has grabbed headlines in recent years.

We’re talking about normal, day-to-day dangers. Research shows that school-age children are actually nine times more likely to sustain an unintentional injury – whether on the playground or in school – than be the victim of violence while at school. An estimated 2.2 million children ages 14 and under are injured in school-related accidents each year, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign.

SAFE KIDS, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the American Academy of Pediatrics offer a list of safety tips for kids and parents we’d like to share:

  • Plan a walking route to school or the bus stop. Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings.
  • Walk the route with your child beforehand. Tell him or her to stay away from parks, vacant lots, fields and other places where there aren’t many people around.
  • Teach your child never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers. Remember, a stranger is anyone you or your children don’t know well or don’t trust.
  • Be sure your child walks to and from school with a sibling, friend, or neighbor. Having a cell phone handy is a good idea, too.
  • Teach your kids – whether walking, biking, or riding the bus to school – to obey all traffic signals, signs and traffic officers.
  • When driving kids, deliver and pick them up as close to the school as possible.
  • If your child bikes to school, make sure he wears a helmet. Research indicates that a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent.
  • Teach children to arrive at the bus stop early, stay out of the street, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching the street, watch for cars and avoid the driver’s blind spot.
  • Obey the flashing lights on school buses. They mean stop.
  • Remind your children to stay seated at all times and keep their heads and arms inside the bus while riding.
  • Also, drivers need to obey school zone rules such as the 20 mph speed limit. And always keep an eye out for youngsters darting into the street from corners or sidewalks. Remember, this is an exciting time for students and pedestrian safety is likely far from their minds.

Good luck this school year, and stay safe.