The summer is coming to a close and schools will be opening their doors. While children are anticipating their new classrooms, teachers and friends—parents are just as excited to get another school year started. The school supplies, extra-curricular activities and after school programs may be at the forefront of our minds, but something else is even more important.
The National Safety Council is committed to spreading the word that all parents and children need to focus on the month of August being “back to school safety month.” This month we can expect to see busier streets, more pedestrians walking to and from school and buses rolling down our neighborhood streets. Although this draws excitement from our little ones, the risk of an accident becomes an even greater factor.
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According to a study by SafeKids.org, 61 children are hit by cars every day in the United States, most often during the hours before and after school, and peaking in September. And, there has been a noticeable demographic shift. It is now much more likely a teenager will be hit by a car than his younger counterpart. Of the 490 pedestrians ages 19 and younger who died after being hit by a motor vehicle in 2012, 48% of those victims were age 15 to 19. The injury and death rates for teens has leveled off over the years, but it has not improved significantly.
After reading these statistics, it is pertinent to talk to your children and teenagers about walking to and from school with a distracting electronic device in their hands. Additionally, those vehicles driving near school zones need to put down their cell phones and be extra cautious.
Lastly, if your children are not in walking distance to school, the bus has become one of the largest forms of transportation for families to utilize. According to the National Safety Council, nearly 25 million children ride a bus daily. This helps 17 million cars from traveling to and from schools each day.
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However, according to Injury Facts 2015, a statistical report on unintentional injuries produced by the National Safety Council, in 2013, a total of 130 people were killed in school bus-related incidents. 4 were bus passengers, 22 were pedestrians and 95 were occupants in other vehicles. Of the 9,000 total school bus-related injuries in 2012, 2,000 were school bus passengers, 6,000 were occupants of other vehicles and fewer than 500 were pedestrians.
Whether your children are walking, biking or riding the bus to and from school, it is critical to discuss safety with them before the school year begins.
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