Red cross issues 10 ways to help keep kids safe heading back to school

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Moline, IL (KWQC)- With the first day of school fast approaching for many area schools, the American Red Cross issued ways to help ensure your children has a safe trip back to school.

If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand back from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive.

Other safety steps include:
1. Wait to board the bus until it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has signaled to get on.
2. Tell children they should only board their bus - never an alternate one.
3. Always stay in clear view of the bus driver and never walk behind the bus.
4. Cross the street at the corner, obey traffic signals and stay in the crosswalk.
5. Never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
6. Younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits properly (typically for children ages 8-12 and over 4’9”) and ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.
7. If a teenager is driving to school, parents should mandate that he or she use seat belts. Drivers should not use their cell phone to text or make calls and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.
8. Some students ride their bike to school. They should always wear a helmet and ride on the right in the same direction as the traffic is going.
9. When students are walking to school, they should only cross the street at an intersection. If possible, use a route with crossing guards.
10. Parents should walk young children to school, along with children taking new routes or attending new schools, at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely. Arrange for the kids to walk to school with a friend or classmate.

Drivers should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean and be aware that children are out walking or biking to school and slow down - especially in residential areas and school zones.

Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is getting ready to stop and motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop.

Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign indicate the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off. Drivers in both directions must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.

Parents should also make sure the child knows their phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 9-1-1.