How to Keep Children Safe in the Classroom
Attending school is an exciting time for many students. From clothes shopping to stocking your student’s backpack with the right supplies, there are many ways parents can set up their children for success in the upcoming school year.
Whether your young kindergartener is over the moon about spending time in their first classroom or your teenager is having a grand time driving themselves to and from the local high school, many parents face understandable concerns for their child’s safety throughout the school year. Here are some ways to keep your loved ones safe and give yourself deserved peace-of-mind while your children are in the classroom.
4 Tips to Keep Kids Safe This School Year
“They’re just kids.” You’ve likely heard or even said the comment before. Children possess a free-spiritedness and innocence that is often a distant memory to most adults. While a child’s imagination is magical, it’s crucial to educate our kids about staying safe while they’re apart from us. Consider these 4 tips to protect your loved ones during the school year.
#1: Be on the lookout for unaware drivers, especially in school zones.
As frustrating as it can be to hit multiple 15-25 mph zones on your morning commute, most drivers are aware that school zones exist for a good reason. All drivers should be hypervigilant while driving at all times, especially when speed limits drop in school zones. Sadly, some drivers fail to exercise proper caution when passing through school speed limits.
As parents, we’ve all experienced before-school stress. Maybe a child overslept, refused to eat breakfast, or begged to stay home due to first-day jitters or anxiety. Maybe a parent forgot to fill up the gas tank the day before and now finds themselves stuck in backlogged traffic, or their student realized they forgot their lunch as soon as they pulled up to the drop-off line. For these reasons and countless others, some adults are prone to getting distracted on the road.
This is one reason why it’s more important than ever to be on the lookout for distracted drivers. Staying alert for potential hazards can help protect the lives of yourself, your children, fellow students, and faculty members at and around your child’s school.
Consider these safe driving tips to ferry youngsters to school safely, and be on the lookout for potential threats during the journey:
- Follow speed limits at all costs, but don’t count on others to do the same. Arriving at drop-off on time isn’t worth the cost of property damage, injuring a child, or harming a faculty member. Unfortunately, not every parent will practice safe driving on their way to and from school. It’s important to do your best while being prepared for the worst to avoid potential harm to yourself or your child.
- Avoid being on the phone at any point during the drive. Even hands-free communications can distract you from what’s happening on the road around you. Be alert and focus on the present to avoid accidents and other drivers who are unaware of their surroundings. If you’re tempted to check a text, other parents are likely to give in to similar temptations. Keep an eye out for parents who choose to use their phone while driving, as it can pose a serious risk to your child’s safety.
- Constantly scan your surroundings to keep an eye out for passing students and distracted drivers. There’s no way to know when a rogue student might come barreling around a corner. As you know, kids can live in their own world and often lack the awareness of older children or adults. Be on the lookout for parents who may not be paying attention to the road or neglecting to follow traffic laws.
- Take extra caution when helping a child cross the street, crosswalks, or other high-traffic pedestrian zones. Never take a crosswalk for granted. If possible, hold a child’s hand when crossing the street. Even designated pedestrian areas are defenseless to other distracted drivers who don’t yield to traffic laws.
- Stay focused on the road ahead. It isn’t uncommon for another driver to give into the temptation to whip around and put a stop to bickering in the backseat. Unfortunately, it only takes one second of distraction to cause an accident.
Whether you’re walking a child to school or driving them to the drop-off line, always be aware of the road around you. Don’t take traffic laws for granted, as not every parent is likely to obey those rules. You never know when a distracted driver could swerve into your lane.
#2: Obey the school drop-off line system and procedures.
No matter how annoying certain rules of the school pickup and drop-off system might appear, these regulations exist for a reason. Drop-off and pick-up line regulations are designed to not only protect the safety of students and faculty, but to ensure the process is as smooth and seamless as possible.
We all know those parents who refuse to adhere to simple procedures and processes during school drop-off and pickup. By following the rules, you can be part of the solution. However, it’s important to exercise caution. By anticipating the likelihood that some parents will disobey procedures, you can be proactive in protecting your child’s safety.
Schools often request that parents follow certain procedures in pickup and drop-off lines. Even when other parents resort to reckless driving or fail to follow the rules set by the school, consider the following practices to ensure your child is safely picked up and dropped off during the school week:
- Stay within cones or marked lines while dropping off or picking up students. Be alert to parents who choose to drive outside the cones or marked areas during pickup and drop-off. An unexpected detour by an impatient driver can pose a serious risk to your child. Teach students to be aware of rogue vehicles and always look twice before exiting the car or crossing the street. Have children exit the vehicles on the side nearest the curb whenever possible, even if that means crawling across the seats.
- Stay inside the vehicle. Exiting the vehicle, even to assist your child, might be hazardous to both your safety and the safety of surrounding students. In many cases, there are faculty members available to assist your student exit the vehicle and ensure they gather all needed belongings. A parent who perceives themselves to be above the rules may risk harming your child or a faculty member by swinging open a door unexpectedly, resulting in property or bodily damage if the door hits an incoming car or student.
- Be on the lookout for line-cutters and refrain from using your horn. Be patient when moving through drop-off and pick-up lines. There’s no way of knowing what’s going on in the car ahead of you. Try to exercise empathy, kindness, and patience to respect parents and the other students, and be aware of parents who fail to do so. If you find yourself confronted by aggressive driving or a parent who chooses to cut the line, do your best to avoid the behavior and notify your children to practice necessary caution, whether that means preventing your children from exiting the vehicle until the aggressive parent departs or notifying a faculty member of the reckless behavior.
- Be aware of parents who aren’t following set speed limits. Many schools enforce a lower speed limit during pickup and drop-off. Regardless of any pressure you feel from parents who choose not to follow the set speed, do your best to maintain the appropriate pace without escalating the situation. Alert your children to the potential danger so they can proactively avoid it.
- Stay alert of parents using the wrong side of the road. When an impatient parent swerves or cuts the line, they risk clipping passing students or vehicles. Make sure you pick up and drop off children on the correct side of the road designated by the school to protect your student, regardless of other parents’ behavior.
- Be on the lookout for parents who fail to adhere to proper drop-off and pickup sections. Some school lines prefer for younger students to be dropped off closer to the front of the line where there are more faculty members to assist them, while older students are permitted to exit the vehicle further away from the school entrance. However, impatience can motivate some parents to disregard these rules. It’s important to anticipate that some parents will deviate from requested practices, as this can increase the risk of rear-ending and other accidents.
- Be aware of parents disobeying rules about PDA or time-consuming goodbyes. Parents may be asked to limit excessive communication or PDA to ensure that cars cycle through the line in a timely manner. When a parent fails to obey these rules, it can cause unexpected holdups or stops in the line. Make sure you brake well ahead of time to avoid collisions and exercise patience even when the car ahead of you isn’t moving.
No matter what, it’s wise to expect the unexpected while navigating a school’s drop-off and pickup line.
#3: Equip your little bikers with proper equipment.
If you have a child who bikes to school, it’s important to educate them on proper safety techniques and equip them with appropriate equipment, including:
- A protective helmet. Make sure that your student’s helmet fits properly to protect them in case they fall off the bike.
- Additional protective gear, such as knee pads and elbow pads. Flashing lights and reflective gear is also a good idea if your child rides in dim light, such as during dawn or dusk.
- Wearing tangle-free clothing. Try to avoid loose fabric that could get caught in wheel spokes, branches, and other hazardous items. For girls with longer hair, be sure to secure it in a manner that prevents it from getting caught on passing objects.
- Make sure your child understands traffic procedures to stay safe. Teach your student how to ride on the right side of the road, signal when turning, use sidewalks, and cross the street using appropriate crosswalks.
#4: Practice safe driving around busses and teach kids about bus safety.
Many parents find it beneficial to accompany their child to the bus stop for the first time to explain proper bus safety. Take time to educate your child about school bus safety precautions, such as:
- Getting to the bus stop early to avoid rushing and potential distractions.
- Standing away from the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop.
- Looking both ways before crossing the street to avoid distracted drivers.
- Watching their step when boarding and debarking the school bus.
- Crossing the street at least 10 feet ahead of the bus so the bus driver can watch them cross (this can also give other cars more time to see your child crossing).
As a parent, it’s also important to always obey school bus stop signs. Be on the lookout for flashing lights, come to a complete stop behind busses to permit students to board and offboard the school bus safety, and cross to the other side of the street when needed. Note that failure to come to a complete stop when a school bus has its stop sign out is punishable by a hefty fine.
That said, it’s still a best practice to expect the unexpected. Staying alert also entails anticipating that other drivers might not do the same. Take every precaution possible to ensure that your children stay safe while boarding and debarking the school bus, and work with your student’s bus driver to make sure children are safely transported to and from school. This might mean arriving at the bus stop early when your child is headed home so you can observe and assist with their safe return and keeping an extra eye on distracted drivers nearby.
Our Firm Is Here to Protect Students in Our Community
We know that navigating the aftermath of an injury to yourself or a loved one can be emotional, overwhelming, and confusing. That’s why our compassionate team at Alvandi Law Group is here to advocate on your behalf and protect your family from further harm.
If your child suffered a transportation-related accident, it’s crucial to seek counsel from a trusted personal injury attorney right away. Our firm is devoted to helping the injured in Orange County, and we have a successful track record to prove it. Don’t wait to fight for the care, advocacy, and compensation that you rightfully deserve.
Act now to protect your family and loved ones throughout the school year. Call (800) 980-6905 to book your consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney today.