Back to School: How Is Your Child Getting There?

With school starting back up, it is time to think about how your child is going to get to school.  Every year, 800 children are killed during school travel times.  Before sending your kids off for the first day of school, talk about pedestrian safety.

Children who live a ½ a mile from school are within walking distance.  Parents should accompany children as they walk to school if they are under 10 years old. Walking children to school improves health and the environment and is a great time to bond with your child.

Always follow safe practices when walking with your child such as walking in the crosswalks and looking left, right, and left again before crossing. Before stepping out in front of traffic, assure that the tires of the car have stopped and you have made eye contact with the driver.  Adult role modeling of safe practices is important to teach life long safety skills to children.

Before even thinking about letting your child on a bicycle, scooter, or rollerblades make sure they have a proper fitting helmet. If there are wheels on their feet or under their body, a helmet should be on their head.  Bicycle helmets are 85% effective in preventing head injuries that can injure or kill someone.  Get your child a helmet that fits correctly and have them wear it each and every ride. 

 

Safe Kids Grand Forks distributes bike helmets and multi-sport helmets at a reduced price.  To obtain a helmet from Safe Kids, email safekids@altru.org or call Safe Kids at 780-1489.

In addition to having your child wear a helmet, review the bicycle laws with him or her.  Teach them the proper hand signals for turning or stopping.  Bikes have all the rights of a vehicle on the roadway and must obey the laws for vehicles.  In the Grand Forks Public Schools, the policy is that bikes must be walked and not ridden when on school property.

If there are bike paths or sidewalks, tell your child to use them and to take caution when crossing the street.  Even bicycles need to look left, right and left again for traffic and wait until the wheels of a vehicle have stopped before crossing.

Getting children to school safely can be reason for headache.  But, if parents teach children safe practices from the start, there will be less to worry about later as your child is old enough to travel to school alone.

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