My kids are back in school and I want to keep my kids safe, but I also know I need to be aware myself of back-to-school safety. Do you have any ideas?

— Lisa, Twin Falls

Answered by Page Geske, Manager, Safe Kids Magic Valley:

One of the most important tips is for parents to slow down when you come to school zones and watch for children. This is especially important in rural areas, where children may be standing out on the roadside, in the dark, waiting for buses. Also, when you are leaving your garage or driveway, make sure kids are not bicycling or walking past your car. Look both ways before you back out of your driveway, especially as it gets darker in the morning.

Obeying speed limits in school zones is the law. As children go back to school, they may only be aware of getting to school and not paying attention to cars on the road. As an adult, it is your responsibility to pay extra attention and be more watchful.

Kids playing in and around bus stops also may not be aware of cars, so as a driver it is important to pay extra attention. Kids also may be late for the bus and dart out into the street, not paying attention to traffic.

Pay attention to school bus traffic and signals. Yellow flashing lights mean that the bus is preparing to stop and load or unload. When the red flashing light comes on, children will be getting on or off the bus and you need to stop. If you are traveling on a road that does not have a median, both lanes of traffic need to stop until the bus has loaded or unloaded children.

If your children walk or ride their bikes to school, it is important for you to have walked the route with them beforehand. That way you will know their route and be able to find them quickly, in case of an emergency.

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One other tip: if you are taking or picking up your child at school, be courteous about the traffic flow and make sure you don’t create a traffic hazard for school buses, other parents or children.

Children should always look both ways before crossing streets and walk, don’t run. Pay attention to traffic signals, and cross the street only when it says “walk.” When crossing the street to get onto a bus, children should walk ahead of the bus and cross in front of the bus, rather than behind the bus where they can’t be seen. When the bus comes to your stop, stand at least three large walking steps away from the bus. Wait until it comes to a complete stop before trying to enter the bus.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not stop or delay seeking treatment because of something you read in this article. Further, the views or opinions expressed in this article are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily represent those of St. Luke’s. Reliance on any information provided by St. Luke’s, St. Luke’s employees or others supplying information for the column at the invitation of St. Luke’s is solely at your own risk.

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