As families adjust to a renewed in-person school routine, we urge parents to take these valuable safety reminders into consideration and talk to your children about getting to and from school safely.
- Budget extra travel time. School areas are congested. Allow more time than is needed to get where you are going.
- Be aware of your speed in school zones. The posted speed limit in school zones is 25 mph.
- Yield to crossing guards. Crossing guards are an integral part of a school's traffic plan. Be aware of their presence, listen to instructions and follow traffic safety laws.
- Watch out for hot spots. Pay extra attention to "hot spots" like school zones, crosswalks, bike lanes, bus stops, and school parking lots.
- Don't text while driving. Don't talk on your phone or send text messages while you are driving.
- Yield to school buses. Don't try to overtake a school bus – it is a moving violation. If a bus has a flashing red light, you are legally required to stop and wait for the light to turn off.
- Expect the unexpected. Children can be unpredictable. Kids are walking, riding a bicycle, crossing streets, and "horsing around" a bit on their way to and from school. They have the potential to dart out unexpectedly, or may not be proficient in their bicycle skills. Be aware.
- Talk with your kids about getting to and from school safely.
- Exercise crosswalk safety. Tell your kids to cross streets only at crosswalks or stoplights and to always look both ways before crossing.
- Use the buddy system. Know their planned route, make sure you have the contact information of your child's walking buddy, and be sure to communicate on day(s) where your child won't be joining the buddy.
- Avoid danger zones. Tell your children to be aware of "hot spots" (e.g. crosswalks, school parking lots, intersections, bus, and parent drop off and pick up zones) and explain how to handle dangerous blind spots.
- Wear bike safety equipment. Children who bike or scooter to school should wear helmets, light-colored clothing, and reflective devices.
- Don't text while walking, scootering, or bicycling. Don't talk on your phone or send text messages while you are walking, scootering, or riding a bicycle. It is distracting and doesn't allow the child to pay attention to their surroundings.
- Wear a properly fitted mask. Wearing a mask to protect against coronavirus has become part of our daily life. However, masks that do not snugly fit against your face can limit your visibility and, in turn, may create a significant safety issue. Be sure children wear properly fitted masks to prevent the spread of disease and to prevent accidents due to visibility issues.
- Talk with your kids about strangers - even people who seem friendly. Role-play and practice responding in different scenarios. Establish a family code word. Identify safe adults, like school staff, whom children can go to if they sense danger.
- Explain to your child what to do if they get lost.
Source: Santa Clara County Office of Education