Now that your children are beginning a new school year, it makes sense that you, as a parent, want to make sure you are doing all you can to send your kids back to school safely. Whether your kids plan to walk to school, ride their bikes or scooters, take the bus, ride with a parent or drive on their own, each runs the risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident, bus accident or even a teen driving car accident.
Parents play a key role in minimizing the chances their children will suffer serious or fatal injuries while in transit to and from school.
Dangers School-Age Children Face
Every 24 hours, approximately 12 people are killed and another 445 people are treated for injuries sustained in a traffic accident while walking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, the CDC reports that an estimated 1 in 4 traffic fatalities involving a child under the age of 15 occurs while the child is a pedestrian.
More children are hit by cars in and around schools each year than at any other intersection, street or road, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Children, particularly those between the ages of 4 and 7, also face a heightened risk of being killed in bus accidents and pedestrian accidents.
Some of the dangers school-age children may face include:
- Speeding drivers.
- Drivers who fail to stop at an intersection.
- Drivers who fail to yield right-of-way to pedestrians.
- Distracted drivers.
- Drivers who break posted speed limits.
- Inattentive or incompetent bus drivers.
- Drunk drivers.
- Inexperienced teen drivers.
- Drivers passing a school bus that has its lights flashing and stop sign out.
- Injuries stemming from a failure to wear or use safety gear (such as helmets and seat belts).
Steps Parents Can Take to Keep Their Kids Safe
While parents cannot guarantee the safety of their children at all times, simple steps can reduce the chances of children being injured or killed in an accident while on their way to or from school.
The NSC advises parents to take these and other simple steps to keep their children safe:
- Talk to your children about pedestrian and bicycle safety.
- Be sure your children know how to respond to an emergency situation.
- Teach your children to look left, right and left again for oncoming vehicles.
- Make sure you learn the route your children will take so you can help them avoid any potential high-risk areas.
- Teach your children the rules of the road and the importance of following these rules.
- Walk with your children to their bus stop and make sure they get on and off the bus safely.
- Be sure your children wear a seat belt when riding in a vehicle.
- Require children to wear a helmet if they ride a bike to or from school.
- Teach your children how to use the correct hand signals when riding a bike to alert drivers to their intentions.
- Tell your children to stand back from the curb and wait not only for the light to change or the crossing guard to signal it is okay to cross, but also for vehicles to come to a complete stop.
- Make sure your children know never to attempt to cross a street by going through parked cars or crossing at a non-designated crosswalk or intersection.
If your child sustains injuries in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, get legal representation. A skilled attorney can help determine the actual cause of the accident, as well as assist in gathering the evidence necessary to establish who was at fault. With the help of an attorney, you can pursue justice on your child’s behalf and you will be afforded the opportunity to seek the compensation your child needs to facilitate his or her full recovery.
The Rhode Island personal injury attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush provide free case reviews to young accident victims and their families. Call us at 855-801-6262 or fill out a contact form to set up a free legal consultation. We have four offices located in Providence, Wakefield, Warwick and Woonsocket to easily serve you.