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What You Need to Remember as Kids Walk or Bus Back to School

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — September is the worst month of the year for car accidents involving kids, and it's no coincidence it's the same month with a surge of kids on the streets and sidewalks heading back to school.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips for good safety practices for kids, bus drivers and parents:

Parents and teachers should tell kids to always walk in full view of the bus driver. A driver who can't see a child should wait as long as it takes to make sure there are no kids on the road.

Kids should wait for a bus to come to a full stop before coming near it.

Kids should also use seat belts on the bus, if buses have them. Injury rates with buses with seat belts are significantly lower than buses with no seat belts.

Kids, especially teens, love their headphones and cellphones. But both should be stored away when walking to school, especially when crossing the street. When children have to use their phones to call a parent, they should step well away from the road to a visible and safe area.

Parents should have their kids wear bright colors, especially in the early morning hours where visibility is lower.

Parents should also weigh the safety risks of allowing their kids to walk to school. 

Make sure the route to school is well-lit, highly visible and has crossing guards at intersections near the school. Parents should instruct kids to always cross at intersections with traffic lights or crossing guards — and not to cross elsewhere simply because there seems to be no traffic. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 70% of all fatal pedestrian vehicle accidents occur at non-intersections.

Car drivers need to remember that school zones that seemed safe all summer will be filling up with kids, not all of them focused on traffic surrounding those zones.

They should be especially sure to avoid distracted driving near school zones and slow down at stops signs and crosswalks — even if it appears nobody is nearby.

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