Preparing school lunches is high on the list of things I like to do the least. No matter how lovingly and thoughtfully I have crafted their midday meal; my discerning young diners rarely appreciate the effort. I have noted this by the return of their lunch bags with the contents almost intact. Yet this week, I gleefully packed lunches the night before the first day of school, I placed their shiny new shoes, coats, and backpacks by the door at the ready, and set the alarm just a few minutes early to be sure we did not start the new school year with a late slip. Yes, two and a half months of summer fun with my kids was wonderful, but the last couple of weeks may have found me counting down the hours to the return to routine and structure – for them, for me, for our collective sanity.
It wasn’t until we arrived at school drop off that I remembered how crazy it all gets, and slowly my yearning for routine was overcome by worry. The traffic was thick with school buses and parents as eager as I was to get the day started. Parking anywhere close to the school was impossible, and kids were wildly running everywhere with excitement. My brain was flooded with red flags. Could the school bus drivers really see my little people behind the wheel of that giant bus? Will my kids remember to cross the road properly? Did the other drivers notice the kids darting in between cars to greet their long lost pals? Who would make sure they got where they needed to be? Okay, it was really less worry and more like panic, I’ll admit. So for the sake of all the helicopter parents out there let’s cover some safety basics.
Drivers, be alert.
This is our job behind the wheel everyday, but now that schools are back in session, it’s a good idea to be even more vigilant.
- Mind your speed. School zones are in effect, and in some cities like Calgary, they are in effect year round. Reducing your speed to the posted limit allows you to stop quickly to avoid an accident.
- Pay attention at school. The crossing guard is there for the safety of the kids, watch for their signals – and watch out for the kids too. They are kids after all, they wander and even the most responsible among them can sometimes forget their heads. Stay alert.
- Give the bus driver a hand. If the driver has the stop sign out, don’t just pass it by, ACTUALLY STOP. Slow down when the bus lights are flashing, the driver is alerting drivers that kids are on the move.
- Don’t be the drop off double parker. Yes, I know you’ll only be a moment, so will the 500 other parents. This move could prompt other drivers to maneuver in an unsafe manner and makes for even more blind spots. Kids amongst the cars are tough enough to spot, double-parking makes it that much more difficult.
Parents, teach your kids.
Sure, kids don’t always listen or maybe they forget what they’ve been told, but if they’ve never heard it, they’ll never know.
- Show them how. Take the time to teach your kids how to cross the road properly. Use a crosswalk when it’s available, look both ways, and make eye contact with the drivers.
- Lead by example. It’s easy to skip the rules when you’re rushed and running errands. You may think they’re not paying attention but they are, and what’s more, they think they’re invincible. Jay walking and crossing against the light just because there is no traffic is a tragedy waiting to happen.
- Bike riders have rules. If your child will be riding to school, the rules of the road apply to them too. Teach them the safest route to take, help them to stay off the road where possible, show them what a blind spot is and how to avoid it, and be sure they know the all the hand signals to let others know where they are going.
Whether you have school aged children or not, working together to keep your community safe just makes sense. Please take a little extra care in the schools zones as we all adjust to our new routines.
Want to know more? Review these sources and resources.
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Everyday Insurance With Allie
Working mom, lover of the great outdoors and self-professed know-it-all. Our resident blogger, Allie isn’t the insurance guru she claims to be – but she’s learning and we are happy to help guide her. All the while keeping you in the loop on the “insurancey” stuff you need to know. #AskAllie