Keep safety in mind as new school year begins

If the children in your neighborhood haven’t already returned to school, they likely will do so sometime this week, so it’s important all of us pay attention to the special hazards and safety issues each new school year brings.

Kids waiting at bus stops and getting on and off buses is of particular concern. Under Ohio and West Virginia law, cars must stop when they see the flashing red lights of a bus. It’s necessary to ensure the safety of children loading on or off the bus, some of whom may have to cross the roadway on their way home.

It’s also the time of year many kids walk or ride their bikes to school, so motorist must stay alert for kids along sidewalks and streets. It’s also important to pay attention to crossing guards positioned near some schools where traffic can be a real issue.

The best thing to do is give yourself a little extra time in the morning just in case you get behind that school bus on the way to work. Never pass a school bus, especially when it’s stopping to pick up students.

Although drivers are required to stop for a school bus when it is loading or unloaing passengers, children should not assume all vehicles will. The National Safety suggests parents teach children rules for getting on and off the bus:

When at the bus stop, stand a distance from the road and pay attention to nearby traffic.

Stay back from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the bus driver opens the door.

Make sure to look both ways before crossing the road if crossing the road is necessary. Make sure the bus driver can see you if you have to cross in front of the bus.

Back-to-school time is an exciting time for most kids and their families, but with that excitement comes the the likelihood of being distracted, and no one wants an injured child to detract from the joy of a new school year.