Back to school safety

Getting back to school is a busy time for everyone, therefore it is important to review some basic but important safety tips that can help things run smoothly and keep students safe when returning to school.

Tips for parents and guardians

  1. Teach your child basic traffic safety rules:
    • never dart out between parked cars
    • where possible, cross at marked crosswalks supervised by a School Crossing Guard
    • when crossing the street, look left, then right and left again to make sure no cars are coming before you cross the street
    • when crossing the street, always walk, never run
  2. Make sure your child’s walk to school is a safe route, and that your child is familiar with it:
    • walk with them until they know the route and can do it safely
    • carefully consider whether your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision
    • if your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision, encourage them to walk with a “buddy”
    • reinforce with your child the importance of sticking to their regular route
  3. Back to school season is always a good time to remind your children about stranger danger:
    • teach your children to never accept rides or gifts from people they do not know
    •  make sure your children know who would pick them up in case of an emergency or if you aren’t able to
    • teach your kids which trustworthy adults (such as grandparents, teachers, staff at school, a neighbor you know and trust) they can also turn to when they need help
    • teach your children what to do if a stranger tries to lure them away – SAY NO, GET AWAY, AND TELL SOMEONE YOU TRUST
  4. If you’re dropping off or picking up kids at school, it’s important that you obey traffic signs and signals and other rules of the road:
    • don’t park in a no-parking zone – this will put you, your children, other kids as well as other drivers and their passengers at risk
    • make sure you’re not blocking a crosswalk
    • stop only when it’s safe and legal to do so and ensure you’re not obstructing traffic
  5. Teach your child to practice school bus safety:
    • arrive at the bus stop five minutes early
    • line up for the school bus in single file at least five steps back from the road
    • wait until the bus has come to a complete stop and the doors are open before moving forward
    • remain seated at all times while on the bus and refrain from distracting conduct, such as throwing things or yelling
    • when exiting the bus, walk, don’t run
    • always cross in front of the school bus but only after establishing eye contact with the school bus drive

Tips for motorists

  1. Reduced speed in school zones:
    • motorists are reminded that the speed limit in school zones is 30 km/h in areas where the approaching limit is 50 km/h, when children are present. Where the approaching speed limit is higher than 50 km/h, drivers are required to reduce speed to a maximum of 50 km/h when children are present
    • by reducing your speed you’ll have more time to react to the unexpected and avoid a dangerous incident
    • given that children are sometimes distracted and may forget to watch for cars, slower is safer. Follow the new speed when driving in a school zone
  2. Use extra caution around crosswalks:
    • be mindful at crosswalks and keep a watchful eye out for students crossing the street. Stay alert as children may dart out from between parked vehicles
    • obey crosswalk guards and stop a minimum of 5m from crosswalks when crossing guards have displayed their stop signs
    • pedestrians should cross the street at marked crosswalks where possible and be sure to make eye contact with the driver before stepping out into the roadway. Stay extra alert and drive with caution when students and pedestrians are on the sidewalks.
  3. Passing a school bus:
    • passing school buses in either direction when the red lights are flashing, regardless of the number of traffic lanes, not only puts people in danger, but is illegal and carries substantial fines
    • you can pass with caution when a bus displays flashing amber lights