Summer vacation is coming to an end and the back to school blitz is officially here. With kids getting set to resume their daily commute, and some younger children getting ready to start school for the first time, now is the perfect opportunity to review some key safety tips for children and motorists alike.

A lot of the tips might seem obvious, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth going over one more time. If you’ve got a youngster getting ready to head back to school, take a few minutes to make sure they know the following safety essentials:

  1. If your child plans on walking to school, map out a direct route that minimizes the number of street crossings and uses intersections with school crossing guards whenever possible.
  2. If your child intends to ride their bike to school, make sure they always wear a helmet and are aware they need to follow the basic rules of the road.
  3. Walk or cycle the route your child intends to follow prior to the first day so they’re already familiar with it when school starts.
  4. For children taking the bus, encourage them to make sure they’re at the bus stop with plenty of time to spare and standing away from the curb when the bus approaches.
  5. When exiting the bus, children should be taught to remain seated until it comes to a complete stop, and cross in front of the bus where the driver can see them.
  6. Teach your child not to accept rides from strangers or anyone they don’t already know and trust.
  7. Try to make sure your child walks to school with a sibling or friend whenever possible.
  8. Whether they bike, walk, or take the bus, make sure your child knows to obey all traffic signals and to always look both ways before crossing the street, even when using a crosswalk.
  9. If you’re driving your kid to school yourself, make sure they know exactly where you’ll be picking them up, and that you’re using one of the school’s designated pick-up and drop-off zones.
  10. Ensure your child knows that safety always comes first, and regardless of what they see other people doing they should continue to model safe behavior and obey all traffic guidelines.

Similarly, with more children about to head out onto the streets, motorists should adhere to the following safety guidelines:

  1. Keep an eye out for kids at intersections, crosswalks, and especially around schools.
  2. Exercise caution when approaching a school bus or driving near bus stops.
  3. Do NOT pass a school bus while its lights are flashing and children are entering or exiting the bus.
  4. Take an extra look before entering or exiting a driveway to make sure the area behind your vehicle is clear.
  5. Be aware that some children may behave unpredictably, and keep an eye out for kids darting into the street or crossing without first looking both ways.

Many accidents can be avoided if just one party is paying close attention. By following these easy and obvious guidelines, and encouraging your kids to do the same, you can help make the streets safer for everyone.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davedugdale/4200387134/