Kids, the School Bus, and You! (Yes YOU!)

With summer coming to an end and school bells ringing in another school year, it is important for parents and drivers to remember to do their part to keep kids safe as they travel to and from school.

School Zone Safety

Riding on a school bus is the safest way for your child to travel to and from school (Yes, it’s even safer than you taking them yourself!). However, the greatest risk is not riding the school bus –but rather the threat of being struck by a bus or motorist while approaching or leaving it.

Therefore children need to be especially careful around the school bus “danger zone,” (the 10 feet in front, behind and on each side of the school bus) and motorists need to be on a vigilant lookout for child pedestrians – and be extra cautious around school buses.

Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians, four to seven years old, who are hit by the bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus.

Passing a school bus is a MAJOR offense that carries the same consequences as a DUI

For this reason, it is necessary to know the proper laws and procedures for sharing the road safely with school buses:

  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.
  • Be alert. Eliminate your distractions. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street.
  • Take extra precautions in school zones and neighborhood areas where children and teenagers might be walking or riding a bicycle.
  • Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences.
Whether children walk, ride their bicycle or take the bus to school, it is extremely important that they take proper safety precautions. Here are some tips to share with your children to ensure their safety when traveling to and from school.
  • Whether you’re getting on or off the bus, stay 10 feet ahead of the bus when crossing the street in front if it, and NEVER walk behind the bus
  • Be sure the bus driver can see you and you can see the bus driver.
  • Never walk behind the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up first because the driver may not be able to see you.
Most young children who are hit by motor vehicles are injured near their home or on neighborhood streets in broad daylight. One third of all child pedestrian fatalities occur during the after school hours, between 3 and 7 pm.Teach your child these tips to increase their safety while walking:
  • Always look left-right-left before crossing the street and never run or dart out from in-between parked cars. The driver will not be able to see you.
  • Be sure to keep on the lookout for cars as you cross, they can approach very quickly!
  • Never run out into streets or cross in between parked cars.
  • Use a cross-walk if you can –otherwise be sure to only cross the street at corners.
  • Keep on the sidewalk –if there’s no sidewalk then be sure to face traffic as you walk.

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here.

Related articles:

Sources:
1.  Curb Back-to-School Tragedies with AAA’s Tips

Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP

Fall is here, which means it’s time to get our your favorite hoodies and drink hot cocoa, and time to tuck away your swimsuits and flip flops (*sniffle*).

This is also Fire Prevention Week (October 4-10), the time of year when we focus on educating families about fire safety, and the simple steps parents can take to keep their families safe. This year, the emphasis is on the importance of having a working smoke alarm in every bedroom and outside each separate sleeping area. The National Fire Protection Association has chosen the theme:

Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP
Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!

Did you know that roughly HALF of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 pm and 7 am, when most people are asleep? 87% of all fire related deaths are due to home fires.1 What makes this statistic even more tragic is the facet that  three out of five of these deaths could have been prevented had working smoke detectors been present – in 38% of the home fire deaths there was absolutely NO smoke detectors present at all!2 

Where There Is Love, There are Smoke Alarms. Don’t Let Your World Go Up In Smoke.

Smoke alarms save lives. Working smoke alarms reduce the chances of dying in a house fire in half – which is why they are the critical first step in keeping your family safe.  Home fires spread  rapidly, taking only seconds and for poisonous smoke to billow throughout your home, leaving families with as little as one to two minutes to escape safely once an alarm sounds. Only by having working smoke alarms – one on every floor and near every sleeping area – can you protect the ones you love!

Keeping your home safe starts with working smoke alarms. What you need to know to protect the ones you love:

  • Have working smoke alarms: Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home. You should also have a smoke alarm inside bedrooms and outside all sleeping areas.
  • Test your smoke alarms once a month: A smoke alarm can only save your life if it’s working. Use the test button monthly to make sure your smoke alarm is working and protecting your family.
  • Replace alarms every 10 years: Smoke alarms do not last forever. If your alarms are 10 years old or older, be sure to replace them with new alarms.
  • Can you hear your alarm? If you can’t hear your alarm, consider getting a strobe light that will flash or a bed shaker that will shake when the smoke alarm sounds.

Learn more about the critical role smoke alarms play in keeping you and your family safe with this infographic from Safe Kids Worldwide:

Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here

Sources
1. Safe Kids Worldwide | Fire Safety
2. Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires | NFPA

 

Halloween Safety: No Tricks, Just Treats

Everyone loves a good scare on Halloween, but not when it comes to child safety. There are several easy and effective behaviors that parents can share with kids to help reduce their risk of injury.

Do you remember how much fun it was to get dressed up as your favorite action hero, cartoon character or princess and go door-to door- for Halloween treats? Well, your children now get to experience that same joy. Just as your parents did for you, now it’s your turn to prevent Halloween accidents and injuries by supervising your children closely. 

Scary Fact: On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year!

As you’re putting the finishing touches on your child’s costumes, be sure to add something so they will be seen by drivers. Kids can wear glowsticks or carry flashlights to make them easily seen by drivers.

This Infographic from Safe Kids Worldwide highlights some important safety tips to help remind your little ghouls, goblins, super heroes and fairy princesses to help stay safe this Halloween.

Safekids USA 2013 Halloween Safety Infographic

Infographic courtesy of Safe Kids Worldwide

Visit Safe Kids Worldwide more tips on how to keep your kids happy and healthy on Halloween HERE.

Have a Spooky, yet SAFE Halloween!

The Dangers of Teens Behind the Wheel

Are you familiar with the “disease” that is the leading killer of teenagers, claiming the lives of 2,400 each year? What’s more is that this “disease” could easily be prevented through inexpensive behavior changes.

The truth is, no such “disease” exists: motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teenage deaths – not any disease.1,2 In 2012, 2,439 teen drivers and passengers died in motor vehicle crashes.3 In half of these fatal crashes, the teen wasn’t using a seat belt, and this proportion has been relatively unchanged over the last decade. In both fatal and nonfatal crashes, a greater percentage of passengers are unrestrained than drivers.4

SERIOUSLY how freaking hard is it to take 5 seconds to buckle up?!?!

The top reason teens gave for not buckling up is that they “forgot”, or that it just wasn’t a habit.  Note to Parents: These habits start young! Teens who aren’t using seat belts have indicated that they do not  see their parents use a seat belt when they drive. So parents: In order to help your teen stay safe on the road, set a good example!! Of course, not using a seat belt is only part of the issue. Teens who don’t use seat belts are almost more likely to admit that they text while driving than those who do wear seat belts — a problem that we all know is much too common. Of teens who don’t use  a seat belt admit to 73% texting while driving —  compared to 52% for those who do wear their seat belt. Granted, the goal is to have 0% of drivers texting and driving, but the point is that danger has been compounded by not wearing a seat belt with the greater likelihood of texting while driving.  Keeping teens safe in cars starts long before they are ready to drive or ride with friends. By following these tips, we can make sure that teens are making safe decisions when riding as passengers today and drivers tomorrow:

  • Make using a seat belt for every ride a habit, starting when kids are young.
  • Be a safety role model by observing speed limits, putting phones away while driving, and following the rules of the road.
  • Talk to teens and kids about ways to speak up if a driver of any age isn’t driving safely

Teens in Cars (SafeKids) Infographic courtesy of Safe Kids Worldwide

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here. 

 

Related articles:

Sources:
1. CDC Leading Causes of Death for Ages 13-19 in 2010
2. NHTSA 2010 Fatality Analysis (Ages 13-19)
3. NHTSA 2012 Fatality Analysis (Ages 13-19)
4. NHTSA 2003-2012 Fatality Analysis by Restraint Use (Ages 13-19)