Back-to-school safety tips from Sheriff’s Dept.

The first day of school marks a significant milestone in the life of a child. It's an exciting time for seeing old friends, making new friends, learning new things - and, for some, riding the bus to school. Each year, more than 20 million students across the country ride the bus to and from school; while countless others walk, ride bicycles or are dropped off by their parents.
Sep 8, 2011


The young people of Ottawa County returned to school on Tuesday. In that respect, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department offers several tips, which are intended to enhance the safety of children.

For parents:

— If dropping your child off at school, be aware of school rules as to student drop-offs; most schools ask that you do not drop off your child in the same area as the bus drop-off. This is to avoid traffic congestion and helps to reduce the chance of injury to your child.
— If you are the parent of a child that will be walking to school, it is advisable to take some time and pre-walk your child’s route. Point out the safe places to cross the street and point out areas of danger.
— Also show your children homes that display the Michigan Child Watch sign. These are homes that children can come to for help should the need arise. If you would like more information on the Michigan Child Watch program, contact you local police department or the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.
— Identify bus stop locations, and review and re-enforce the school bus safety rules.

For students:

— Students walking to school must use bike paths and sidewalks where available. In areas where there are no sidewalks or bike paths, walk along the side of the road, facing traffic.
— Wear light-colored clothing, and avoid using headphones or other electronic devices that will distract you from traffic.
— If riding a bicycle to school and there are no bike paths, ride with traffic. If riding in the dark, your bike must have a light on it. When riding your bike, always wear a bicycle helmet.
— While at your bus stop, do not run into traffic.
— Arrive to your bus stop early.
— Never walk behind the bus.
— Make sure the bus comes to a complete stop before trying to enter or exit the bus.
— When crossing the street, observe traffic. Don’t rely solely on the bus lights, and watch for the signal from your bus driver to cross.

For motorists:

— When driving during the hours prior to school and at dismissal time, be aware of traffic around the schools.
— Many schools still use school speed zones; and, as a driver, it is your responsibility to know where these zones are and adhere to the posted speed limit.
— Several schools also use school crossing guards. Crossing guards assist students in crossing the street safely and rely on motorists to stop when directed.
— When approaching a school bus that has activated its flashing red lights, all motorists must stop. Be alert to children’s unpredictable behavior and wait for the lights to stop flashing before beginning to move again.


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