Red Cross issues back to school safety tips

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[August 25, 2014]  CENTRAL ILLINOIS - As another school year begins, the American Red Cross has steps that everyone can take to make the trip back to the classroom safer.

“When kids go back to school, parents should make sure the child knows his or her home phone number and address, parents’ work contact information, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 9-1-1,” said Monica Grugett, youth education director. “Parents should also teach their children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know.”

Bus Safety

If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand away from the curb.

Other safety steps for students include:

  • Board the bus only after it has come to a complete stop.
  • Only board your bus and never an alternate one.
  • Always stay in clear view of the bus driver and never walk behind the bus.
  • Cross the street at the corner, obeying traffic signals and staying in the crosswalk.

Motorists should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean:

  • Yellow flashing lights — the bus is getting ready to stop, and motorists should slow down and be alert.
  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign — the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off. Drivers in both directions must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.


If a teenager is going to drive to school, parents should mandate that they use seat belts. Drivers should not use their cell phone to text or make calls, and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.

All drivers should be aware that children are out walking or biking to school and slow down, especially in residential areas and school zones.

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Biking and Walking

Students who ride their bike to school should always wear a helmet, obey all traffic signs and ride on the right in the same direction as traffic.

Those who walk to school should only cross the street at an intersection, and use a route along which the school has placed crossing guards. Parents should walk young children and children taking new routes or attending new schools at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely.

Emergencies can happen anytime

Talk to your child’s teacher or school principal about the school’s emergency plan and how you will be notified if an emergency happens at the school.

Remind your child that the most important thing they can do if an emergency happens at school is to stay calm and listen to the direction of their teachers or principal.


Tape a copy of your family’s contact numbers and meeting place(s) to the inside of your child’s binder or homework notebook and in their book bag.


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