Dallas Law Firm Blog

School Is Back!  How to Start Back Safely…

It’s hard to believe that summer 2017 is over and it’s time for the school buses to start running again and the kids to start heading back to school for the start of another school year.  With this in mind, the team at Guajardo & Marks wants to take this opportunity to remind you of a few safety tips that could help make this “back-to-school” time safer and less anxiety-provoking for students and parents alike!

School Zone Driving Safety Tips (for drivers)

  • Watch out for school zone signals and ALWAYS obey the posted speed limits.
  • As you enter and while driving in a school zone, make sure you slow down and obey all traffic laws/rules.
  • Remember: you must always stop for stopped school buses as they are loading or unloading children.
  • Stay alert! Be aware of school crossing guards and obey their signals.
  • Watch out for children – near schools, bus stops, sidewalks, in the streets and in school parking lots. They aren’t watching out for you – that’s for certain!
  • NEVER pass other vehicles, change lanes or make U-turns while driving in a school zone.
  • Never text while driving in a school zone. In fact, avoid using a cell phone at all while driving in a school zone.  Wait to make your call until you are stopped or until you are out of the school zone.  There are just too many distractions.
  • Unless you have a handicap permit, never use handicap or emergency vehicle lanes or spaces to drop off or pick up children.

School Bus Safety (for students)

  • Get to the bus stop ahead of schedule.
  • Horsing around or wrestling at the bus stop is dangerous.
  • Make sure the bus has come to a complete stop before you get on or off.
  • While you are on the bus, remain seated and keep your head and arms inside.
  • Never shout at or distract the bus driver.
  • NEVER walk in the bus driver’s “blind spot” (this is the area from the front of the bus to about 10 feet in front of the bus) – they can’t see you and might hit you.

Riding Your Bike to School (for students & parents/caregivers)

  • Many schools do not allow students to ride bikes to school until they are in a specific grade.
  • Your child must always wear a bicycle helmet!
  • REMEMBER – The rules of the road apply to both bicycles and cars.
  • Bicycles must stay on the right-hand side of the road, riding in the same direction as traffic.
  • Teach your child all of the hand signals to use while riding a bike and that all riders must use them while riding, especially in traffic so the cars around them know what they are doing.
  • Make sure your child knows and uses the safest route from home to school.
  • Use the “buddy system” and ride your bike with someone else.

Walking to School (for students and parents)

  • Always leave early enough to be on time and not to be rushed.
  • Go straight home after school.  Only go to other places that you are allowed to go.
  • Use public sidewalks and streets.
  • Use the safest route between your home and the school.
  • Try to walk to school with other students.
  • Teach your children to know and obey traffic signals, signs, and pavement markings.
  • Students should cross streets only at crosswalks, street corners and traffic-controlled intersections.
  • Look both ways before crossing, and never cross between parked cars, shrubbery, signs, etc.
  • Always walk when crossing the street.
  • Never talk to strangers. Teach your children how important it is to put distance between themselves and anyone they don’t know who tries to approach or make contact with them.
  • If a stranger does approach your child, make sure they know to immediately get out of the situation and report the incident to you or a teacher.
  • Teach your children to never get into a vehicle with anyone, without your permission, even if they know them.

School Cross Walk Safety (for students)

  • Use the crosswalk when there is one. Watch for the signal to cross and look both ways before entering the street.
  • You should never wear your headphones when crossing a street. You should always stop, look and listen before crossing.
  • To keep from falling or tripping into the street it is best to stand back a step from the edge of the curb.
  • Don’t try to make the traffic stop by “directing traffic” on your own or simply stepping off the curb and thinking the traffic will stop for you.
  • Fog, rain and even sun can make it hard for drivers to see you or stop quickly; know your weather forecast.
  • Walk carefully and slowly across the street.
  • If you are crossing in front of a stopped car, make sure you pay attention to all of the other cars around you. Other drivers may not be paying attention to you.
  • You must always follow the instructions of all crosswalk guards.

Playground Safety (for parents and students)

  • A teacher or other certified person must be present when any children are at the school’s playground. Make sure your child’s school has a playground monitor or someone like that on the playground at all times.
  • A “shock-absorbing” material that is at least nine inches thick should be underneath and around all equipment.
  • Protective surfaces 6 feet in all directions should surround all playground equipment.
  • To avoid the possibility of accidental injury or death caused by strangulation, don’t attach ropes, jump ropes, clotheslines, pet leashes or cords of any kind to playground equipment.
  • If you ever notice any broken equipment, notify the proper parties.

Clothing and School Supplies (parents and caregivers)

  • Remembering that most children must have/use a backpack, try to get one that has wide straps and that weighs as little as possible.
  • To help reduce strain on a child’s back, load heavier items first and closer to the child’s back.
  • Using both straps on a backpack can help with the even distribution of weight.
  • Remove all drawstrings from jackets, sweatshirts, and hooded shirts in order to reduce the risk of strangulation injuries and accidents.
  • Classroom art supplies should always be labeled “child safe” and “non-toxic.” It is important to check the labels before allowing children to use them.
  • Toys should always be “up to date,” and any recalled toys should be removed.

If both parents and students take notice of these safety tips, we all should have a great start to this new school year!  Even the smallest detail can have the biggest impact on your or your child’s safety.  Don’t leave anything to chance.  Let’s make the 2017-2018 school year the best year yet!

The team at Guajardo & Marks hopes that neither you nor your child is ever injured in any of these potentially dangerous situations, but if you or a loved one finds yourself in a situation where you have been seriously injured, please contact our firm.  Our team will be here to answer your questions and to help guide you through the complex navigation involved.