The summer is winding down which means kids are returning to school. After spending the last couple months at home, it is important that your children are sent off to school with an understanding of how to get to and from school safely. You must also adjust your routine back to school mode if you drop off or pick up your kids, or if there is a school zone on your commute. Whether you have a kindergartener, a high school senior, or someone in between, be sure to review these back to school safety tips to ensure the months ahead are as stress-free as possible.
Safety in School Zones
The areas around schools have reduced speed limits before and after school hours because traffic is usually heavy during morning drop-offs and afternoon pickups. Parents don’t always look where they’re going in the rush to get everyone out of the car before they’re late for class and the parents are late for work. Kids are known for dashing around parking lots and in between cars and when they cross streets, they don’t always use crosswalks. Slower speeds allow drivers to react quickly and avoid accidents. If there’s a school zone on your morning commute, be sure to allow extra driving time or choose a route that doesn’t involve reduced speeds and heavy traffic.
Cell Phones Are A No-Go
Drivers have always had to deal with distractions ranging from radios to children, but using cell phones can wait. According to the National Conference of State Legislators’ website, 16 states, as well as Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit driving while using a hand-held cell phone. Teen drivers can’t use cell phones in 38 states and the District of Columbia, and 47 states, as well as D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands don’t allow texting behind the wheel. Penalties are becoming stiffer for offenders. Starting July 1, 2019, drivers caught texting in Illinois will receive a moving violation that stays on their driving record. Three moving violations in a 12-month period results in suspension of a driver’s license. Hands free devices make answering calls safer but save sending calls and texts for when you’re parked.
Safe Classrooms for Everyone
Give your children’s teachers your contact information at the beginning of the school year and stay in touch with them to ensure you know about anything that may be happening in your child’s classroom. If your schedule allows, consider volunteering at the school; not only will your help be invaluable, but you’ll be there to notice if there is any bullying happening. Be sure you know your district’s policies on bullying and don’t be afraid to stand up for your child if the school is unable or unwilling to act. A child can’t learn properly if they’re afraid of another child or teacher.
Encourage your child to take all safety drills seriously. They may be nerve-wracking, but it’s important to know exactly what to do during an emergency. As the saying goes, it’s better to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
Getting To and From School Safely
If your child walks to and from school, make sure they understand the importance of crossing at corners or crosswalks and encourage them to walk in groups if possible. Remind them never to speak to strangers or get into a car with someone they don’t know. Find businesses along the route that would be safe places to seek help if someone is trying to follow them. If your child doesn’t have a phone, make sure they memorize a couple of important contact numbers in case of emergencies. It’s better to memorize the numbers rather than write them down, in case they get lost or a backpack gets misplaced.
Children who ride busses should be encouraged to listen to their drivers and follow all bus safety rules. That includes staying in seats and being quiet when the driver is stopped at railroad crossings. If your child witnesses any trouble on the bus but is afraid to report it to the driver immediately, call the transportation department as soon as possible.
With some common sense and a few precautions, the back to school season can be a safe one. It may not always be organized or peaceful, but you can limit the hazards your children face on a daily basis.
Home Cleaning Services
When your schedule is packed with work and family activities, it’s hard to get your home ready for an event or give it a thorough cleaning. That’s why families in Northbrook, Wilmette, Glenview, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Winnetka, Buffalo Grove, and the surrounding north Chicago suburbs count on ServiceMaster DAK and our home cleaning services to keep their homes looking great. Our specialists use the most effective cleaning products and equipment available to the industry to deep-clean homes and ensure that they’re not just clean, they’re ServiceMaster Clean. We do the heavy cleaning, so you can take care of other matters.