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Child Safety: Traffic Safety Tips for the Fall

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The end of summer always makes me feel like a kid again—excited about going back to school and catching up with friends. Mostly, I remember back-to-school season as an exciting time to be a kid. It’s also an ideal time for parents to review safety guidelines to keep their children safe on the road. Think about it, this fall, kids will be taking the school bus, traveling to extra-curricular activities via car, and walking to friends’ houses. It’s time for some traffic safety lessons.

Kids walking away from a school bus

At NHTSA, I make sure agency programs stay true to our mission of saving lives on our roads and highways. Outside of work, I’m an uncle to 12 kids, ages one to 22 and Godfather to five, ages three to 16, so the safety of our kids is close to my heart. I’m particularly pleased with one campaign we developed recently—‘Think Safe, Ride Safe, Be Safe!’—in partnership with a favorite television show of many kids, Chuggington.

I urge you to pledge to be safe this fall with your children. To get your family started, here are some tips for fall traffic safety and several free campaign resources to make learning fun.

Child Safety Tips for Fall

Back-to-School Safety

Riding on a school bus is the safest way for kids to get to and from school. Now that your kids are comfortable riding the school bus, review these important safety tips with them:

  • When getting on, wait five giant steps away from the road. Wait until the school bus driver says it is safe to get on.
  • When getting off, take five giant steps from the school bus, look left-right-left to make sure no cars are coming, then wait for the driver to signal it’s safe to cross.
  • Watch the Safety Rhyme Time PSA featuring Chuggington’s three trainees!

Child Passenger Safety

Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Week was September 16-22. Created to increase awareness about properly securing kids in car seats and seat belts, CPS Week is the time to find a nearby car seat inspection station to make sure your child’s car seat is properly installed. It’s also time to teach kids basic safety for traveling safely in the car. Tell them:

  • When you’re in your car seat, tell an adult if YOU are unbuckled. Make sure to tell an adult if THEY are unbuckled, as well.
  • After mom or dad parks, stay in your seat until an adult unbuckles you.
  • Download the free traffic safety app—Chuggington: Be Safe!

Halloween Safety

Halloween presents another chance to educate young cowboys and princesses about pedestrian safety. Before trick-or-treating this year, teach your children to walk safely around the neighborhood. Teach them to:

  • Hold an adult’s hand when walking. Walk on the sidewalk. If there’s no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
  • When crossing the street, stop at the edge of the street (use a crosswalk if possible), look left-right-left for cars, then cross if there isn’t a car coming. Keep looking for cars as you cross.
  • Play the Traffic Safety Game!

 How do you teach your children to be safe while on the road?

David L. Strickland is the fourteenth Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As the country's top automotive safety official, Mr. Strickland is committed to supporting NHTSA's longstanding mission of reducing crash-related injuries and fatalities while ensuring the highest standards of safety on the nation's roadways. Since being sworn into office in January 2010, Mr. Strickland has brought national public focus to child passenger safety issues, including the threat of heat stroke from hot cars and back-over deaths and injuries.

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.
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