Putting your best foot forward

Moms and Dad’s are excited while children are apprehensive; it’s one of the most wonderful times of the year. It’s Back to School time! Hundreds of children will walk to and from school every day – slow down to posted speed limit in all school zones. Hey, it’s a pretty good rule to follow in all residential areas where children are playing.

Children under the age of nine often have not developed the skills necessary to cross the street safely by themselves. Their sight, hearing, height, perception, and mental development are not the same as adults, and this decreases their ability to make safe judgments about traffic. Children, from an early age, need to learn how to cross a street safely, through repetition and encouragement. A child under the age of nine should always be accompanied adults or older children whenever they cross the street.

So how do we teach children to cross a street safely?

  • Stop at the corner.
  • Never cross between parked cars – if there is a marked crosswalk always use it even if it is a little further down the street.
  • If the corner is supervised by school patrollers – always obey their instructions.
  • Look left then look right for vehicles that maybe approaching.
  • Make eye contact with drivers so you know that they see you and they know that you see them.
  • Make sure cars come to a complete stop before you start to cross the road.
  • Walk, don’t run as you cross the street and continue to look both ways as you cross.

Many children will be riding the school bus to and from school each day. A few simple reminders can make their ride a safe one too!

  • Stay back from the designated bus stop – off the road and out of approaching traffic.
  • If waiting in line, wait quietly no pushing or shoving.
  • Make sure that the bus driver can see you.
  • Wait till the bus driver activates the warning lights and flashing stop arm – In the City of Prince Albert school busses do not use the flashing red lights and stop arm (Bylaw 54 of 1983), so always stop when a school bus is loading or unloading.
  • While on the bus do not yell and shout.
  • Never walk around while the bus is moving.
  • When you leave the bus – walk at least 3 meters (10 feet) in front of the bus so you can be seen and stop look both ways before going to the opposite side of the street.

Whether our children walk to school or ride the bus, a few extra safety precautions can make the difference. Remember to buckle up while riding in a vehicle. Parents – just because school has started doesn’t mean your child needs to be removed from his or her booster seat. Many children might ride in a booster seat till at least age nine.

It’s all about height and weight. It is law in Saskatchewan that children must use a booster until age 7 or weigh 36 kgs. (80 lbs.) AND stand 145 cm (4’9”) tall.

Children will be safer if they continue to use a booster beyond the legal requirement, until the seat belt fits them properly. Don’t be surprised when your son or daughter says, “How come my friends don’t ride in a car seat?” Everyone is a different height and weight. All vehicles and car seats are different too!

Welcome back to school. Have a great school year!