Opinion

When driving, watch for our children | Editorial

San Juan County children returned to school Sept. 1. With youngsters going to and from school on our local streets, it’s a good idea to be extra cautious when driving. And parents, make sure your children know the safety rules for traveling by bicycle, bus and foot to and from school.

The San Juan County Fire Marshal shares these safety tips from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

ON THE SCHOOL BUS
If your child’s school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus.

Children should:
— 1. Wait for the bus to stop before approaching it.
— 2. Not move around on the bus.
— 3. Check to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street to enter the bus.
—4. Make sure to always remain in clear view of the bus driver.

IN THE CAR
— All passengers should wear a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat.
— Children should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4 feet 9 inches in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age).
— All children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. If you must drive more children than can fit in the rear seat (when carpooling, for example), move the front-seat passenger’s seat as far back as possible and have the child ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do not fit properly without it.

RIDING A BICYCLE
When it comes to bike riding, remind your children to:
— Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
— Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic.
— Use appropriate hand signals.
— Respect stop signs.
— Wear bright colored clothing to increase visibility.
— Know the “rules of the road.”

WALKING TO SCHOOL
—Make sure your child’s walk to school is on a safe route.
— Be realistic about your child’s pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
—Bright-colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.

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