Safety tips and advice from injury lawyers in Ottawa to parents for a stress-free start to the school year
It’s that time of year again in Ottawa; the sun starts to set earlier, the colder weather starts to roll in, and the kids head back to school – ah, peace and quiet, at last. While you may be happy to get the kids back to school and out of the house, worrying about their safety comes with being a parent. The beginning of the school year is a great time to remind children about basic road safety principles during their commute to and from school. Injury Lawyers in Ottawa weighed in on what you can do as a parent to ensure that you and your children are aware and vigilant about possible safety and personal injury risks.
Things to consider
When planning your child’s commute, there are a few things that injury lawyers in Ottawa say to keep in mind. It is a good idea for you to brush up on traffic signs, on-going construction, intersections, and open sidewalks in your area. You want to plan a route for them that will involve the least amount of possible obstructions and traffic hazards as possible. Staying up-to-date and knowledgeable will provide you with peace of mind that your child won’t come across an unexpected situation that could put them in harm’s way.
Do you take your kids to school yourself? Injury lawyers in Ottawa recommend that you are well-informed about school rules and policies regarding drop-offs. Many schools have areas that are not safe for students to be dropped-off because of school busses or otherwise high-traffic areas. Additionally, as a driver yourself, be mindful that back to school time means that traffic may be more hectic than usual. School zones are also often very crowded and busy. Drive slow, pay attention to traffic signs, and be mindful not to block crosswalks with your vehicle.
Injury Lawyers in Ottawa share their safety tips for every method of transportation
If your child is walking to school, or even just to the bust stop, you want to know that they are comfortable and ready for the responsibility. It’s a good idea to practice walking the route with your child several times before they embark on their own. Inform them about possible dangers, remind them not to take shortcuts and always look both ways before crossing. Encourage them to walk with friends if possible.
Heavy backpacks can make their commute more difficult and puts them at risk of hurting their back, neck, and shoulders. Injury lawyers in Ottawa say a good rule of thumb is to ensure their backpack is no heavier than 10-20% of their body weight.
Always check your child’s bike before their first day back to school to make sure no parts are rusted or broken and that they haven’t outgrown it. In Ontario, it is illegal for riders under the age of 18 to bike without a helmet. It is critical that your child has a properly-fitting helmet and that they are aware of the importance of wearing one. For younger children, injury lawyers in Ottawa say that knee pads or biking gloves are an additional way to protect them from scrapes and bruises if they fall. Be sure to go over intersections and how to navigate the roads safely.
While school bus transportation is known to be one of the safest methods of transport, your child should be reminded of how to ride safely. When the bus is approaching, tell them to avoid standing close to the curb. They should wait until the doors are fully open, and the bus has come to a complete stop before boarding.
It’s hard to get kids to sit still, but remaining seated while on the bus at all times is crucial.
Finally, when getting off the bus, remind them to keep a safe distance from the bus and look both ways before crossing the road. Injury lawyers in Ottawa want to stress that although it is the law for drivers to stop for school buses, it is unfortunately not uncommon for them to disobey it.
Confidence is key
Regardless of which method of transportation your child will be taking, making sure they are confident in their commute is essential. Confidence is infectious; if your child sees that you are not worried about their ability to travel on their own, it will be very reassuring. So long as you actively discuss safety precautions with your child and plan a safe commute, both of you will be ready and excited for the new school year.