This morning, while the school bus was approaching to whisk my son off to his final year of high school, I watched as car after car tried to pass the slowing-down-with-its-lights-on school bus. Trying to game the system and get around my kid’s bus, makes you a jerk.
All over Central Texas as kids go back to school, we have kids and parents who aren’t sure where they are going, who aren’t sure what the traffic pattern at school is yet, or are waiting for buses that are running late.
Let’s all practice our patience and be safe.
If you haven’t watched this 2016 video from Austin Independent School District of two students getting hit by cars after getting off the school bus, watch it. Also read Melissa Taboada and Katie Hall’s story about the 900 cars AISD caught that didn’t stop for school buses in the first week of school that year.
Those big yellow school buses are a reminder that school is back in session and there are lots of kids and parents walking around, and not just in and around a school bus. Watch out for kids walking or riding bikes to school and from. Watch out for their parents walking to bus stops before or after the bus gets there.
Slow down. Stop. And Think.
If you did hit a kid or a parent and he or she was seriously injured or died, how would you live with yourself?
Kristen Hullum, MSN, RN, the trauma injury prevention coordinator at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, offers the following tips on how to keep your children safe between home and school.
Kids who walk, bike or take the bus to school must be familiar with street safety rules. Remind them to use crosswalks whenever available; always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter or skateboard; and never assume that a car can see them. Help them understand how to take extra precautions when watching for vehicles and crossing streets safely. Use the sidewalk when available, and walk facing the flow of traffic.
Children should wear reflective strips on their backpacks, shoes or jackets if walking or riding to school in the dark.
Remind children to keep their “head up, phone down.” Many students can be seen walking to school while texting. It is easy for them to become distracted—and lose awareness of their surroundings and moving vehicles—while using their phone.
Lap and shoulder belts have been available on Texas school buses for many years. Insist your child always wears their seat belt on the school bus and sets an example for other children. Remind them to stay in their seat until the bus comes to a complete stop, to keep their arms and head inside the windows at all times, and never to assume that cars will stop for the bus or children crossing the street — they still must watch carefully for vehicles.
More than 20,000 kids visit the emergency room every year with injuries sustained on the playground. The majority of these injuries are related to falls. Remind children to be aware of moving swings, broken equipment, platforms from which they could fall and activities that may not be appropriate for younger kids.
Children should always be closely supervised when playing on the playground, and injuries (even minor ones) should be reported to teachers and parents so they can be monitored.
Ask children to report safety hazards to an adult to prevent other children from getting hurt.
Be sure your child wears the proper sports safety equipment for whichever sport they play.
Monitor your children for subtle signs of an injury—limping, grimacing, holding or rubbing a certain area. If your child ever hits his or her head, with or without a helmet, monitor the child carefully for signs of a concussion, and see a physician immediately if symptoms occur. Signs include confusion and forgetfulness, changes in mood or behavior, loss of consciousness, headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, blurry vision and complaints of “just not feeling right.” If you suspect a concussion, see a physician and have your child refrain from further physical activity. When in doubt, sit it out.
Keep kids well hydrated. Ensure they are drinking plenty of water or electrolyte replacement fluids before, during and after sports activities. Monitor for signs of heat exhaustion—confusion, lack of sweating (a sign they have already lost all fluids through the skin), nausea, headache, pale skin, rapid heartbeat and muscle cramping. Kids experiencing any of these symptoms need to be moved to a cooler place, drink lots of fluids, use a damp washcloth to cool their body and seek medical attention if symptoms do not resolve quickly.
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