Installation Management Command
WASHINGTON — Now that school is back in session, parents should make sure children arrive and return from school safe and sound.
By being aware of school travel risks, adults can take actions to keep children safe.
If the child’s school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus. If the child’s school bus does not have lap/shoulder belts, encourage the school to buy or lease buses with lap/shoulder belts.
Ensure children wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb. Do not allow children to move around on the bus. Make sure children know to check to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing, and to always remain in clear view of the bus driver.
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 car safety seat, with a harness, as long as possible and then ride in a belt-positioning 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 8-12 years of age.
All children under 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. If an adult must drive more children than can fit in the rear seat, like when carpooling, 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.
Adults and children should always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride. They should ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as auto traffic, and use appropriate hand signals. Parents need to ensure children respect traffic lights and stop signs, and know the rules of the road. Children also should wear bright color clothing to increase visibility.
Adults need to make sure the child’s walk to a school is a safe route, with well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection. Parents need to be realistic about their child’s pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether or not a child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
Again, make sure children are wearing bright colored clothing, as this will make them more visible to drivers.