Back-to-school safety lessons

Review safe transportation behaviors

It's always a good time of year for teachers, caregivers and parents to educate and remind children to practice safe behaviors when walking, biking or riding the bus to and from school.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, in 2012 there were nine pedestrians killed under the age of 19 statewide. Of the 875 bicyclists injured in 2012, nearly half (49.7%) were less than 25 years of age.

"Parents and caregivers need to remember that children are not small adults and need help crossing the street -- especially if they are 10 years old or younger," said Bloomington Police Officer Bret Anderberg.

In 2012, school bus crashes decreased by 10%. There were 553 traffic crashes directly involving at least one school bus, compared to 615 crashes in 2011.

Officer Anderberg encourages us to teach and reinforce safety rules early in a child's life so they develop good habits that last a lifetime.

"There are specific rules that children need to understand," said Officer Anderberg. "Parents and other caregivers must teach and reinforce these skill sets to ensure that their children enter and exit the school bus environment safely."

For more information, call 952-563-8861.

Tips for a safe school commute

Review these basic rules with your child.

Biking to school

  • Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
  • The helmet should cover most of the wearer’s forehead; no more than two fingers'-width of forehead should show above the eyebrow. The straps should be snug on both sides.
  • Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic.
  • Use appropriate hand signals.
  • Respect traffic lights and stop signs.
  • Wear bright colored clothing to increase visibility.
  • Know the rules of the road.

Walking to school

  • Make sure your child's walk to a school is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection.
  • Be realistic about your child's pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
  • Bright colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.

Riding the bus

  • If your child's school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus. If your child's school bus does not have lap/shoulder belts, encourage the school to buy or lease buses with lap/shoulder belts.
  • Wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
  • Do not move around on the bus.
  • Check to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing.
  • Make sure to always remain in clear view of the bus driver.

- American Academy of Pediatrics