Getting to school safely

News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The National Safety Council is reminding families whether students are riding a bus, walking, or biking to or from school there are a number of safety items to keep in mind.

Dr. Mathew Devine, the Medical Director at Highland Family Medicine and Accountable Health Partners, discussed some of those safety points Thursday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“When people are walking to school, obviously they are closer in proximity to the school, but there are driveways, streets, other things that they need to be aware of,” said Dr. Devine. “I think the biggest thing is looking at the driver so that they see you before you cross the street, etcetera as you are going.”

As for biking, he said, “For kids under 12 we still recommend they take the sidewalk. The big thing is having a bike helmet, being able to lock the bike up at school, not having too much stuff in the backpack as they’re trying to get down the streets to the school.”

Many students ride the bus to school. Dr. Devine said there are important safety measures to follow here as well. “A lot of busses now have that little kind of yellow flag or stick that comes out to really separate the kids as they cross. Really, that’s to give enough space so the bus driver can see you as you’re crossing. So you really want to look at the bus driver, make sure they see you as you’re crossing. Make sure cars that are oncoming stop. But, of course, people are distracted. I think that’s the big thing; going for walkers, bikers, bus riders, and people dropping off at school, as there are people on their phones. Put the phones away when you are out on the roads.”

If your teenager is driving to school, Dr. Devine said it’s important that they are focused on the road and not distracted. He recommended not having too many peers in the car. In addition, he said parents may want to consider having a pact or contract with their child to establish expectations for their driving.

The National Safety Council also has specific recommendations when it comes to backpacks. “They actually want you to have both straps on the back and have it be 5 to 10 percent of the weight of the person that’s carrying it, which is not a lot of weight for some of these little ones, so just being careful,” Dr. Devine noted. “And the rolling backpacks, just be careful with them because they can be in crowded hallways. People can trip over them and get in trouble with that behind them.”

The National Safety Council recommends when it comes to playgrounds and sports, children should leave necklaces and jackets with drawstrings at home to reduce strangulation hazards. A few minor bumps and bruises can be expected, but head injuries of any kind should never be ignored.

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