September 1st is back to school day in Horizon School Division and that of course means that there will be many excited young people eager to meet up with friends who they may not have seen much over the last two months so at this time of year it is especially important for drivers to be very conscious of their surroundings. Children can be unpredictable and even the most safety aware child can have a lapse of judgement that could have tragic consequences if drivers are not paying attention. With that in mind the Canada Safety Council has a number of reminders for parents, children and drivers because despite this being an annual occurrence the return to school often brings about episodes of impatience and sometimes confusion regarding the rules of the road. Nationally, there is a spike in fatalities and injuries among child pedestrians from September to November and so it is pertinent to remind oneself and one’s children about road safety in and around schools and playgrounds. When in doubt, slow down and keep a look out.
Some general rules of safety are:
To ride a bicycle safely to and from school alone, children must be mature enough (minimum 9 – 12 years old) and must have enough experience. The rider should be able to scan ahead and check behind without swerving and obviously be fully aware of bicycle safety rules.
Safety practices for bicyclists:
Many children walk to and from school and it is important that parents and guardians review road safety rules with their children and the importance of not accepting rides or any invitations from strangers. For many parents and grandparents, accepting rides in a small community when they were growing up was a relatively safe practice, but that is no longer the case. It is best to walk with a buddy and keep focused on getting straight home. For children who must walk alone for part of their journey, parents might want to consider identifying homes where children could seek help in an emergency or when they are feeling unsafe. Designating a specific route for children to take to and from school is another safety strategy.
To keep safe on roads, children pedestrians must:
Prevention is the key to safety. With education and awareness, all children should be able to get safely to school and home again. The only news schools, parents and communities want to hear during back-to-school time is about the new experiences children are excited to share. Take the time to review safety rules and help all children start the new school year safely.
Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder