Back to School Safety Tips
This year, many children will return to school after prolonged closures. It’s important they feel safe and supported. Follow these important safety tips to help prevent injuries this school year!
Walking to School
More than 40 kids are hit while walking to school EVERYDAY in the U.S.
- Children should only walk to school alone if they are old enough and ready to make the walk safely.
- Children are not ready to walk to school without an adult until they are at least 10 years old.
- Younger kids cannot be trusted to make smart traffic choices on their own.
- Plan and practice a safe walking route with your child until she knows it well.
- Use streets with sidewalks, crosswalks and crossing guards. Avoid as many intersections as possible.
- Have children walk with a friend or in a group.
- Talk to your child about what to do if they are approached by a stranger.
- Don’t walk while distracted, put your phone and/or headphones down
- Use bright colors if walking at night, avoid dark clothes
- Look out for careless drivers
- Avoid walking in the roadway, stay on sidewalks when possible
- Look for cars backing out of parking spots, driveways, busy streets
Source: Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Riding a School Bus
- Children riding the bus to school should learn and practice a few safety rules for getting on and off the bus
- Get to the bus stop early. Do not run to the bus
- Wait until the bus has come to a complete stop before walking toward it
- If crossing the street, wait for a signal from the bus driver. Look both ways to make sure there is no moving traffic from either direction
- Always cross in front of the bus so the driver can see you
- If the bus has lap and shoulder belts, use them
- Once the bus is in motion, remain in your seat
- If the window is open, keep your arms and head inside the bus at all times
- Do not stand up to get off the bus until it has completely stopped
- Only get off the bus at your assigned spot
Source: Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Rules for Driving Near a School Bus in Washington State
- The driver of a vehicle upon overtaking or meeting from either direction any school bus which has stopped on the roadway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children shall stop the vehicle before reaching such school bus when there is in operation on said school bus a visual signal as specified in RCW 46.37.190 and said driver shall not proceed until such school bus resumes motion or the visual signals are no longer activated.
- The driver of a vehicle upon a highway divided into separate roadways as provided in RCW 46.61.150 need not stop upon meeting a school bus which is proceeding in the opposite direction and is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children.
- The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with three or more marked traffic lanes need not stop upon meeting a school bus which is proceeding in the opposite direction and is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children.
- The driver of a school bus shall actuate the visual signals required by RCW 46.37.190 only when such bus is stopped on the roadway for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children.
- The driver of a school bus may stop completely off the roadway for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children only when the school children do not have to cross the roadway. The school bus driver shall actuate the hazard warning lamps as defined in RCW 46.37.215 before loading or unloading school children at such stops.
- Except as provided in subsection (7) of this section, a person found to have committed an infraction of subsection (1) of this section shall be assessed a monetary penalty equal to twice the total penalty assessed under RCW 46.63.110. This penalty may not be waived, reduced, or suspended. Fifty percent of the money so collected shall be deposited into the school zone safety account in the custody of the state treasurer and disbursed in accordance with RCW 46.61.440(5).
- An infraction of subsection (1) of this section detected through the use of an automated school bus safety camera under RCW 46.63.180 is not a part of the registered owner’s driving record under RCW 46.52.101 and 46.52.120, and must be processed in the same manner as parking infractions, including for the purposes of RCW 3.50.100, 35.20.220, 46.16A.120, and 46.20.270(3). However, the amount of the fine issued for a violation of this section detected through the use of an automated school bus safety camera shall not exceed twice the monetary penalty for a violation of this section as provided under RCW 46.63.110.
Source: Washington State Legislature
To learn more about School Bus Safety, read our 2022 National School Bus Safety Week blog featuring helpful tips from the National Association of Pupil Transportation (NAPT).