School Smarts: Be safe, be seen at the bus stop and walking to s - WDRB 41 Louisville News

School Smarts: Be safe, be seen at the bus stop and walking to school

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Getting to school safely is a priority for every family. Some children ride the bus and others are close enough to walk.  Kosair Children's Hospital offers some advice on teaching children the basics. 

School Bus Safety

Riding the bus is an exciting adventure for children, especially those riding for the very first time.  The following steps will keep children safe as they approach, ride and depart the bus.

1.  Walk:  Walk with your children to the bus stop and wait with them until the bus arrives.  Tell children to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time.

2.  Wait:  Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting off, and never walk behind the bus.

3.  Five Giant Steps:  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 children to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.

4.  Handrails:  Instruct younger children 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 driver sees them before they pick it up. 

5.  Slow Down:  Drivers should always follow the speed limit and slow down in school zones and near bus stops.  Remember to stay alert and look for children who may be trying to get to or from the school bus.

6.  Watch Bus Signals:  Slow down and stop if you're driving near a 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 Safety

Whether children are walking to school, the park or a friend's house, here are a few simple ways to make sure they get there safely,

1.  It's best to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.  Most injuries happen mid-block or someplace other than intersections.  If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and as far away from vehicles as possible.

2.  Teach children at an early age to put down their devices and look left, right and left again when crossing the street.  Make it a rule to put down electronic devices when crossing the street.  It is especially important to reinforce this message with teenagers.

3.  Remind children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street and to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up.  Teach them not to run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

4.  Children under 10 should cross the street with an adult.  It can be hard for children to judge speed and distance of cars until age 10.

5.  If you are walking when it is dark outside, be especially alert and make sure you are visible to drivers.

6.  Be aware of others who may be distracted.  Speak up when you see someone else in danger.

7.  Teach your children to stop walking and find a safe area to stand when they absolutely must use their phone.

8.  Pull down headphones or turn off the volume before crossing the street.

9.  Drivers, put cell phones and other distractions in the back seat or out of sight until you reach your destination.

Whether you or your kids are walking to school, the park or a friend's house, here are a few simple tips to make sure everyone gets there safely.

Let your actions speak as loudly as your words

Set a good example by putting devices down when you are driving or walking around cars. If we put our devices down, our kids are more likely to do the same.

Children under age 10 should cross the street with an adult. Although every child is different, most kids find it hard to judge the speed and distance of cars until about age 10.

Drive with extra care

When driving, be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones. Be on the lookout for bikers, walkers or runners who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.

Give pedestrians the right of way and look both ways when making a turn to help spot any bikers, walkers or runners who may not be immediately visible.

When driving, put cellphones and other distractions in the back seat or out of sight until you arrive at your destination.

Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.

Download the printable Safe Kids flier and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration flier for more information on being a safe pedestrian. CLICK HERE for a fun pedestrian activity just for kids! 

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