All right, parents. We are almost a month in to the new school year so many of us are somewhat familiar with the daily drill of: . . .get the kids in the car, find the easiest route to school, fight the traffic of an overcrowded school drop off zone, squeeze in hugs and kisses, and then race out of the overcrowded parking lot hopefully with still enough time to stop for drive-thru coffee. Sound about right? I’m sure we might have different versions of this routine that are sprinkled in with a dash of getting delayed by a train, an upset child on the brink of an utter meltdown, or (gasp!) a forgotten cell phone on the kitchen counter.
Regardless of any kind of unexpected event or smooth sailing routine that unfolds each weekday morning, the goal is clear for parents with young kids attending school–get them there safely. However, we are human and sometimes we make some not-so-safe choices because we are “running late.” The choices may or may not include speeding a little in the school zone, sneaking into a handicapped parking spot illegally, or even dangerously coaxing our kids to cross a busy street that is nowhere near a school crossing guard. Gosh, I remember when I was in high school (yes, high school!) sometimes when we were running late my mother would not even come to a complete stop to let me out. I swear it felt like I was a stuntwoman preparing to tuck and roll as I threw myself from a moving vehicle. Below are a few recommended guidelines to abide by that will help keep safety at the forefront for us all as we take our “precious cargo” to school.
a.) You are the model for your child. Everything you do leaves an impression or influences the behavior of your child. Thank about the message you are sending to your child if you are speeding, illegally parking, or even griping at drivers around you and not yielding to traffic signs. You’re probably not sending a message of “safety first.”
b.) Follow the rules set out by your school or early learning center. If the rules state to stay in your car until a teacher brings you your child then WAIT. When cars are parked bumper to bumper it’s dangerous to flag your child over it is very easy for a fatal accident to happen.
c.) Put your phone down. Remember it’s illegal to text and drive. Pay attention to what’s going on in front of you and around you.
c.) Be cautious of pedestrians who obey the crossing guard and also be cautious of the pedestrians who do NOT use the cross walk.
d.) Do not try to pull around traffic when it’s stopped. It’s extremely dangerous to pull into oncoming traffic because you create a blind spot for pedestrians and oncoming vehicles.
e.) Always check all mirrors and blindspots before instructing your children to exit the vehicle. In fact, it’s much safer to make it a rule that only a grown up can open a car door.
These are just a few of many helpful hints to abide by when approaching a school zone or early learning center drop off area. For additional back to school traffic safety tips, visit the National Safety Council.
The Parenting Hub would love to hear additional traffic safety tips when picking up and dropping off your kids. Please send your questions and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org