Walking to School
Choose the safest route and walk it with your children. Look for the most direct route with the fewest street crossings. Try to choose routes where school safety patrols will be present. (Check with your school if you're not sure.) Children under age 10 should walk with an adult or older child every day because they do not have the necessary skills to judge the speed or distance of oncoming traffic. Also, their peripheral (side) vision is 1/3 less than that of adults.
Teach children to obey all traffic signals and markings. Children should be taught the meaning of all traffic markers (for example, a flashing "walk" sign is not an automatic "go" signal.)
Make sure children look to the left, to the right and to the left again for moving vehicles before crossing the street.
Teach children not to enter the street from between parked cars or from behind bushes or shrubs. Darting into the street accounts for a significant number of pedestrian injuries among children ages 9 and under.
Because drivers have a more difficult time seeing pedestrians, warn children to be extra alert, especially in low light conditions or bad weather.
Be a good role model. Children imitate their parents and model their behavior. You need to tell them and show them how to be safe pedestrians.
School Bus Safety
Teach your children about the 10-foot danger zone around the school bus, where the driver can’t see children on the ground. They should take five giant steps (10 ft.) away from the bus to be sure the bus driver can see them. And if something falls under or near the bus, tell your child to never try to pick it up. Tell the bus driver.
Older kids who must cross the street should look to the bus driver for an "OK" sign before crossing, and always cross in front of the bus.
Kids tend to run toward the bus — don’t let them. Kids should stand on the grass or sidewalk while waiting for the bus and not enter the street until the driver has opened the door of the bus.
Teach children to be alert to traffic. When exiting the bus, look left, right, left before entering or crossing the street.
While on the bus, children should observe the following safety rules:
Remain seated at all times and keep the aisles clear.
Don't throw objects. Don't shout or distract the driver unnecessarily.
Keep your head and arms inside the bus at all times.
Driving Your Child to School
Always use child safety seats and/or safety belts correctly every time you ride. Remain belted until exiting the vehicle. Never carry more passengers than there are safety belts in the vehicle. In Minnesota a child who is both under age 8 and shorter than 4 feet 9 inches is required to be fastened in a child safety seat that meets federal safety standards. Under Minnesota law, a child cannot use a seat belt alone until they are age 8, or 4 feet 9 inches tall. It is recommended to keep a child in a booster based on their height rather than their age. Check the instruction book or label of the child safety seat to be sure it is the right seat for your child’s weight and height.
Don't store loose or heavy objects in the passenger area of the car that could injure someone if you stop suddenly.
Allow extra time in the schedule to avoid the pressure of driving too fast when late.
Drop off your children as close to school as possible so that they do not have to cross the street, and make sure they enter and leave the car on the curb side.
Arrange to pick up your child at a safe spot away from the congestion of cars around the school.
Children and Air Bags
The back seat is the safest place for children of any age to ride.
Never place an infant (less than 1 year old) in a rearward-facing child safety seat in the front passenger seat of a vehicle with a front passenger air bag. The back of a rear-facing infant or convertible seat rests too close to the air bag cover. Because the air bag opens with a great deal of force, serious injuries or death could occur if the child seat is too close.
If it is absolutely necessary for an older child to ride in the front seat of a car with a front passenger side air bag, make sure the child is correctly buckled up for their age and size and move the front seat as far back from the dashboard as possible.