With the new school year about to kick off, the Naperville Police Department is sharing some tips to help ensure that kids head back to school safely.
Prepare kids before school starts
Before school even begins, there are a few things parents can do to better prepare their kids.
Make sure children know their phone number and home address, as well as a parent’s cell phone number.
It’s also a good idea to walk the route to and from school with your child, so they have a clear idea of how to get there, and back. If they take a bus, take a walk with them to their stop. Also make sure they know what their bus number is.
Remind kids of the “Say NO, GO and TELL” safety rule. If a child has been approached by someone who is making them feel uncomfortable or trying to offer them a ride, they should say NO, then GO away from the situation, and TELL a trusted adult. Make sure to review who trusted adults are, noting police officers, firefighters, a neighbor, teachers, etc.
Also let children know not to leave the school with anyone that you haven’t told them they may leave with. They should know to always check with a parent or a trusted adult before leaving if an unexpected person arrives for pick up saying there’s an emergency.
Traveling to school safely
When kids who are walking to school head out, they should always travel with a friend or a group, as there’s safety in numbers. They should also stick with a group while waiting for the bus.
Remind kids that they should use designated Safe Walk Routes on their way to school. Walkers and bikers should follow all traffic signals and rules, staying within crosswalks and obeying crossing guards. Bikers should also wear a helmet, along with reflective clothing, and stick to the sidewalks when they can.
If you have a driving-age child, talk to them about the importance of slowing down, avoiding distractions, and being mindful of their surroundings.
Once the school day ends, if kids will be home alone, it’s a good idea to review the Naperville Police Departments “On Your Own” safety materials.
Motorists can help with back-to-school safety as well
With more kids traveling in the mornings and afternoons, motorists need to keep a more watchful eye.
Police say to start the day right by leaving a little early so there’s no need to rush. Make sure to eat and do all your grooming before leaving, so you aren’t doing it in the car. And remember, Illinois bans the use of all hand-held devices while driving, along with texting while driving.
When coming to stop signs, make sure to make a complete stop, and give a thorough look for any bikers or walkers before proceeding. Be ready to yield the right-of-way.
Also watch for and take your cue from crossing guards, as well as student safety patrols. Be mindful of school speed zones, slowing down to 20 mph. Be extra alert for kids in those areas. Also use more caution when near a school, following its traffic and parking plans as well as signage.
Finally, never pass a school bus whose stop sign is extended. Show caution around buses and exercise patience as kids get on and off.
More safety tips can be found on the Naperville Police Department’s A Safer Naper website.
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