A new school year is upon us. It’s an exciting time for everyone – parents and kids alike.
The new school year means adjustments for everyone – for the kids it’s adjusting to a more structured schedule and for adults it’s adjusting to an increase in pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic. During the first few weeks of school the bus drivers and the kids are adjusting to the new routes. Additionally, there may be kids walking or riding bikes to school in your neighborhood. It is important to remember that traffic in your area will increase and school speed zones will be enforced, so you should allow extra time to get to your destination. Lastly, it is important for adults and children to review school safety procedures, so everyone can have a safe and healthy school year.
For parents dropping off and picking up from school:
- Eliminate all distractions
- Put down the phone and avoid talking even on a hands-free device
- 100% of your attention should be focused on navigating the school zones and parking lot
- Overly excited kids can run, dart and move unpredictably – be alert and ready to stop quickly
- Obey the 5 mph speed limit in school parking lots
- Obey your schools’ specific procedures for drop off and pick up – there is a method to their madness. The school administrators have specific rules, designated lanes and directional traffic flow set-up to ensure the safety of everyone. Don’t break these rules because you are late for a meeting.
For children walking to and from school:
- Consider if your child is mature enough to walk to school
- Walk with your child the first week so you can gauge their level of readiness
- Make sure your child’s walk to school is a safe route and they cross whenever possible where a crossing guard is present
- Always walk on a sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you have to walk in the road, always walk FACING traffic
- Walk in groups
- Before crossing the street, stop and look left, then right, then left again
- Remind older children with phones to avoid walking with their head down looking at their phone – all kids should walk with their heads up and be aware of their surroundings
For children biking to and from school:
- Always wear a helmet, no matter how short the ride
- Ride on the right side, the same direction as traffic – in a single file line
- Be seen – Be aware – Be predictable
- Respect traffic lights and stop signs
- Remember to always walk your bike across a crosswalk or street
For children riding a school bus to and from school:
- Arrive at bus stop at least 5 minutes before bus is scheduled to arrive
- When bus approaches stay back at least 6 feet from the curb and wait until bus stops and driver opens doors
- NEVER walk behind the bus
- If you need to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the side of the road until you are at least 12 feet in front of the bus, then cross the street. You should be able to see the bus driver and the bus driver should always be able to see you.
- If you drop something near a bus tell the bus driver
- Use handrails when entering or exiting bus
- Always remain seated on a bus
Preventing backpack-related injuries:
- A backpack should have ergonomically designed features to enhance safety and comfort
- Don’t overstuff – the backpack and contents should not weigh more than 10-20% of your child’s body weight (i.e. a child weighing 60 pounds should carry a backpack no heavier than 12 pounds)
- Ask your child to wear both straps to evenly distribute the weight
Over the last 10 years, playground related brain injuries have increased despite improvements in playground equipment safety and design. In 2013, 29,000 kids were treated in emergency rooms for playground head injuries and concussions. Of those injured, 6 out of 10 where boys and over half ranged in age from 5-9 years. The majority of injuries occurred in April, May and September.
- 80% of playground accidents are caused by falls to the ground from monkey bars, playground gyms and swings – always seek playgrounds with a soft surface, such as wood chips, mulch, pea gravel, sand, rubberized mulch or rubber mats
- Kids should always remove bike helmets when on playground equipment – the helmet can get stuck in bars causing entrapment and the straps can cause strangulation
- Large structures with climbing equipment, horizontal ladders, sliding poles and ropes should not be used by children under the age of 4
- If your school has a playground with monkey bars – remind your kids to only use the bars under close supervision with a spotter and they should never hang upside down from the bars since there is a good chance they will land on their head, if they fall
Matt Casey and Matt Devoti wish your family a happy and healthy 2016-17 school year.
For over 30 years, Casey & Devoti has diligently protected the rights of its clients with honesty and integrity. Our lawyers are dedicated to providing individuals with first-class, professional and aggressive legal representation. Matt Casey and Matt Devoti have extensive trial experience representing clients in matters such as, automobile, truck and train accidents, medical and legal malpractice, product and premises liability, elder care and sexual abuse, Workers’ Compensation and wrongful death. Casey & Devoti proudly serves the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois.