Saturday, October 17, 2009

It’s Time to Talk to Your Teen About Safe Driving

National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW), October 18 – 24, has been designated by Congress as a time for communities, schools and families to raise awareness and provide solutions to teen driver crashes, the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S.

We encourage parents to talk with their teens about the risks associated with driving and to set clear expectations for teen drivers and passengers. Here are 5 tips to get the conversation started:

  1. Absolutely No Alcohol. Teen drivers (ages 15-20) are at far greater risk of death in crashes where alcohol was present than the rest of us, even though they cannot legally purchase or possess alcohol.
  2. Seat belts: Always Buckle Up! Teens buckle up far less frequently than adults do. The very first thing you can do is to be a role model for your children by buckling yourself up every time you get in the car. When your teen is ready to drive, remind them that whether they are driving across town or just around the neighborhood, wearing seat belts is the absolute best way to protect themselves and their passengers from severe injury or even death in the event of a crash.
  3. Cell phone/texting: No talking or texting while driving. Talk to your teen drivers about the risks of talking, texting and other distractions, and set clear expectations about driving habits. Distracted driving results in a slower response rate which could be deadly to a pedestrian or a driver.
  4. Curfew: Have the Car in the Driveway by 10 p.m. Talk to your teen driver about when you expect them to have the car back in the driveway. The reason for setting a “home-by” rule is to protect your kids by keeping them from driving during the high-risk nighttime hours.
  5. Passengers: No more than one at all times Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teenagers in the car. Non-adult passengers can be a dangerous and fatal distraction for young novice drivers. Also teach your child to be an considerate passenger who doesn’t distract the driver.
And remember, it's also extremely important to lead by example. Follow the rules of the road. Always wear a seat belt, don’t talk on a cell phone while driving and don’t speed. Your child watches your every move.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

School Bus Safety Week

School Buses Are Nearly 8 Times Safer than Passenger Vehicles
Dayton Children’s and Safe Kids Greater Dayton provide tips to keep kids safer for National School Bus Safety Week

As child safety advocates, we often get asked why the majority of school buses don't have seat belts.

While carpooling is a common practice in many communities, a school bus is the safest way for children to get to school. Fatal crashes involving school bus occupants are extremely rare events, even though school buses serve children daily in nearly every community.

Getting to and from the bus is actually more dangerous than riding the bus itself. In 2007, 26 children were killed as pedestrians getting on or off a school bus, or while waiting at the school bus stop in the United States. This means that five times as many children were killed while getting on or off the bus than while riding it. Oct. 19 to 23, 2009, is National School Bus Safety Week, making it a good time to teach children how to stay safer around school busses.

Here are some tips to share with your children to make sure their bus ride is as safe as possible:

  1. Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early.
  2. Stay in a safe place away from the street while waiting for the bus.
  3. Stand at least 5 giant steps (10 feet) away from the edge of the road.
  4. Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says it is okay before moving towards the bus.
  5. Have your parents help you check that your clothing does not have drawstrings and that your book bag does not have straps or dangling objects. They can get caught in the door when exiting the bus.
  6. If something falls under or near the bus, tell the driver. Never try to pick it up yourself!
  7. When you get on or off the bus, look for the bus safety lights and make sure they are flashing. Tell the driver if they are not.
  8. Be alert to traffic. When you get on or off the bus, look left, right, and left again before you enter or cross the street.
  9. Stay in your seat and sit quietly on the bus so that the driver is not distracted.
  10. Some school buses now have seat belts. If you have seat belts on your school bus, be sure to learn to use the seat belt correctly on every ride.
In Ohio, it is against the law to pass a stopped school bus or approach within 10 feet, and motorists should never pass a school bus with its lights flashing. National School Bus Safety Week is held every year in the third week of October and led by the National Association for Pupil Transportation.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Don't get spooked!

Keeping Kids Safe on Halloween

Pedestrian safety tips for little ghosts and goblins

Halloween is an exciting night for children; however danger can lurk at every corner and crosswalk. With the days getting shorter, children are likely to be trick-or-treating in the dark when it is harder for drivers to see them and the excitement of the holiday can make everyone less cautious. Prepare your ghosts and goblins for a safe night of fun by reviewing the following tips from Dayton Children's and Safe Kids Greater Dayton:
  1. Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along a pre-established route. Parents should have a copy of the planned route at home.
  2. Restrict trick-or-treating visits to homes with porch or outside lights illuminated. Instruct children never to enter a home or an apartment building unless accompanied by an adult.
  3. Children should wear light colored costumes, should have reflective elements or attach reflective tape to dark costumes.
  4. Remove breakable items or obstacles including tools, ladders and children’s toys from steps, lawn and porch. Keep jack-o-lanterns lit with candles away from landings or doorsteps where costumes might brush against the flame.
  5. Avoid giving choking hazards including small toys, gum, peanuts and hard candy to small children. Consider giving out non-edible treats, such as pencils and stickers.
  6. Tell children to bring treats home before eating them. Parents should check treats to ensure that items have not been tampered with and are safely sealed.
  7. Apply face paint or cosmetics directly to the face. Makeup is safer than a loose-fitting mask that can obstruct vision. Make sure any masks worn fit securely. Cut eyeholes large enough for full vision.
  8. Dress children in costumes short enough to avoid tripping with shoes that are appropriately sized. Adult shoes are not safe for trick-or-treaters. The larger size makes it easier for them to trip and fall. 
  9.  Don’t let children carry flexible knives, swords or other props. Anything they carry could injure them if they fall.
  10. Tell children to stay on the sidewalk at all times. Stay off roads and cross streets at crosswalks or well-lit intersections. Monitor younger children when they cross the street.

If you are a driver, be extra alert in neighborhoods, avoid distractions and remember that children may not be able to see you through their costumes. Remember, children are excited and may move in unpredictable ways.