Cutter Law P.C.

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August marks the beginning of back-to-school season.

As parents and children start making preparations for the upcoming school year, safety may not come immediately to mind.

But having a conversation about safety should be as much a part of back-to-school planning as buying pencils and notebooks.

Nationwide, more than 55 million students will be returning to school. That means more traffic, more pedestrians, and lots of children out and about before and after school.

While it is ultimately up to drivers to watch for children in school zones and crosswalks, it is also important for children to understand the importance of staying safe as a pedestrian. Here are some things for parents to keep in mind:

  • Review street crossing safety: Children should cross the street at a crosswalk or at a street corner - never in the middle of a street. Younger children should always hold an adult's hand while crossing. Children should look left, right, and left again before crossing a street - and they should continue to look while crossing the street.
  • Warn children of blind spots: Most children know to stay out of the way of oncoming vehicles, but many children are not aware of a vehicle's blind spots. Explain to your children that it is never okay to play in, around or under a vehicle.
  • Walk on sidewalks: Children should always walk on a sidewalk - never on the street. However, if there are areas with no sidewalk, children should walk on the far shoulder of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
  • Require helmet use: If your child bikes to school, make sure he or she uses a properly fitted bike helmet.

Tips for drivers

If you're driving in a school zone, here are some important safety tips:

  • Eliminate phone distractions: It is advisable to eliminate all smart phone use while driving. If you need to use your phone, pull over or find a parking lot. Never allow yourself to be distracted by your phone in a school zone.
  • Come to a complete stop: Avoid rolling through stop signs in school zones. Come to a complete stop and check carefully before proceeding.
  • Slow down: Drive very slowly in a school zone or in areas where children are walking or biking to school.

We all play a collective role in keeping our kids safe as they go to school. Please share your own safety tips in the comments section below.

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