Injuries to Children While Heading to and from School
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-21 school year is uncertain for many families. However, no matter how your children might be learning, it’s important to do a safety refresh related to getting to and from school, as we all hope they will be safely returning to the classroom as soon as possible. Whether you drive your children, they take the bus, or they walk or ride their bikes directly to school, it’s important to pay close attention to the kinds of dangerous accidents they are susceptible to – and to plan accordingly.
If you drive your children to school (or carpool with other parents), it’s important to keep in mind that traffic increases around drop-off and pick-up times. Further, because parents – and everyone else – have a lot on their minds during these trying times, motorists may be even more distracted than usual. Increased traffic funneling in and out of one area and increased distraction levels can be a recipe for dangerous car accidents. Help keep your children safe by always driving defensively and making car seats, boosters, and seatbelts (as applicable) non-negotiable – every time.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
If your children walk or ride their bikes to school, it’s important to go over all the safety basics with them. Increased traffic increases the chances of pedestrian and bicycle accidents, so reinforcing the following is key:
- Encourage them to choose a route that requires as few street crossings as possible and to always cross at crosswalks with crossing guards (whenever possible). Practicing the safest route ahead of time – together – is a great idea.
- Teach your children to avoid dangers, such as construction sites, inadequate lighting (as the days become shorter), heavy traffic, obstructed views, and more).
- Reinforce the rules of bike safety, including always wearing a safety helmet.
- Teach your children to walk in groups or to ride together with someone else. There is safety in numbers.
When it comes to riding the bus, your children are most vulnerable when they are entering and exiting their bus. Teaching your children the following safety basics can help protect them from dangerous accidents:
- Always stand at the designated bus stop and do not approach the bus until the driver brings it to a complete stop, puts out the stop-sign arm, opens the bus door, and instructs them to enter.
- Don’t begin exiting the bus until after it comes to a complete stop and the driver has instructed them to exit.
- Never cross the bus’s path after exiting unless they are at a crosswalk well ahead of the bus and can make eye contact with the bus driver.
Children Can Be Seriously Injured in Back-to-School Accidents
Going back to school this year is anxiety-provoking enough. It’s important to remember, however, that negligent drivers are out there, and they often cause dangerous back-to-school accidents. If your child is injured by a negligent motorist while heading to or from school, you need a dedicated California personal injury lawyer on your side.