By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.
Motor Vehicle Crashes are the leading cause of death for children age 4 to 14, and, in 2000 more than half of all children less than 15 years of age killed in car crashes were completely unrestrained. School age children transported in school buses are safer than children transported in motor vehicles of any other type. Large school buses provide protection because of their size and weight. It is very important that children are well-protected and aware about transportation hazards.
Following are some suggestions for safe transportation of children:
- Make sure that all children are placed in child safety seats, booster seats or seat belts - every time they ride in a car or truck.
- Children 12 years and younger should sit in the back seat and must be buckled up at all times. Place the infants in rear-facing seats until they are at least one year old and 20 pounds.
- Seat belts alone are made for adults. A booster seat raises a child (at least 8 years old or over 4-feet 9-inches tall) up so the seat belt fits. Older children should use seat belts.
- Do not stick hand, finger, hat, paper or any such thing out the car or bus window when the vehicle is in motion.
- While waiting for the school bus, stand at least 10 feet away or 5 big steps away from the edge of the road.
- Wait for the bus to stop, the doors to open and the driver to approve before stepping onto the bus.
- Always insist on wearing helmet when children ride the bicycle. Head injury is the leading cause of death in bicycle crashes and is the most important determinant of bicycle-related death and permanent disability. Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent.
- Keep the bicycle well-maintained. Park the bicycle appropriately.
- Teach your children the basic traffic laws and the local laws. Also teach them to be alert of anyone passing on the road or other vehicles.
- Always accompany children or let any other adult accompany them when they are crossing the road.
- Make sure that your children follow pedestrian traffic rules while they are walking. Jaywalking should not be allowed. Crossing the roads only at designated walkways should be allowed.
- While on a boat, make sure that an adult accompanies the child and that the child is wearing a safety life jacket at all times.
Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center, http://www.startingadaycarecenter.com.