Marion County Health Department Reminds Parents, Children and Motorists That It’s Back to School Time

Created on Thursday, 29 July 2010 15:53

Contact: Collette DuValle, 317-373-2391

Beginning August 2, area children will return to school. The Marion County Health Department and Safe Kids Indianapolis want parents, students and the general public to help make the beginning of the school year a safe one.

“Getting to and from school can be a dangerous task for our children,” said Serifatu Walton, injury prevention specialist for the health department. “Pedestrian injuries are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 5 to 14,” said Walton.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children are most likely to be struck because they act before they think, and have little experience with traffic and assume motorists will see them and will wait for them to cross the street.

Motorists will see children waiting for school busses and walking to school for the first time in several months. Slowing down and making certain intersections are clear before driving through will help avoid preventable accidents.

Remember your child’s limitations; children under 10 years are developmentally limited when it comes to judging speed and distance accurately, and very young children may not be able to read street and pedestrian signs yet. Walking your child to school at least once will help you assess the walk-ability of your neighborhood and whether your child is ready to walk to school alone.

Bus riders should know about the 10-foot danger zone around a bus. This is an area that the bus driver cannot see and could pose a potential hazard. Bus riders should stay at least eight giant steps away from the curb while waiting for the bus. Teach children to stay away from the curb until the bus has come to a complete stop and the driver has opened the door signaling it is safe to board.

While on the bus, students should go directly to a seat, remain seated and face forward for the entire ride. Bus riders should never yell, scream or throw things on the bus or out the windows. Any of these actions could distract the bus driver and create a potential accident. For more information on school safety, contact the Marion County Health Department at 221-3145.