TULSA, Okla. — Back to school is a busy time for children and families. Between scrambling for school supplies, new clothes and sports tryouts, parents may not think about safety issues. During back-to-school time, Safe Kids Tulsa Area wants to remind parents to talk to their children about how to stay safe.
Pedestrian safety is especially important this time of year— nearly 20,000 children are injured while walking and almost 500 children die every year in pedestrian accidents. A 2012 Safe Kids report says pedestrian injuries among 16-19-year-olds increased 25 percent over the previous five years. Teens now account for half of all pedestrian deaths among children 19 and under.
“Distraction is a big problem, both while driving and walking,” says Beth Washington, Safe Kids Tulsa Area coordinator. “As kids head back to school, we’re urging parents to talk to their kids to make sure they are paying full attention when crossing the street. And we adults need to follow our own advice. If we put our devices down, our kids are more likely to do the same.”
Safe Kids Tulsa Area offers these six safety recommends for back to school.
- Talk to your kids about how to be safe while walking. Teach kids at an early age to put down their devices and then look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
- Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait until it arrives. Children under 10 should always walk with an adult and hold their hand when crossing the street. Tell kids to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time.
- Always wear a helmet. When you’re biking, always wear a properly fitted helmet. This can save lives if your child takes a tumble, or a driver does not see them.
- Wear bright colors. Whether your child is walking or riding, wearing bright colors or reflective gear makes drivers more likely to notice them.
- Make sure your carpool is safe. Make sure each child in the carpool has a car seat, booster seat, or safety belt, based on individual age, weight and height.
- Check playgrounds where your children play. Look for age-appropriate equipment and hazards, like rusted or broken equipment and dangerous surfaces. Report issues to the school or appropriate local office.
Drivers need to pay attention too:
- Slow down and be especially alert in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
- Eliminate any distractions inside your car to concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Drive slowly and anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic in the mornings and afternoons.
For more safety information, please visit www.safekids.org.