Minnesota Safety Council: Protect Kids On the Move
Parents urged to review and plan safe routes to school

ST. PAUL (August 30, 2016) – In the bustle of back-to-school, young children and teens are on the move during peak travel times on Minnesota roads. The Minnesota Safety Council and Safe Kids Minnesota urge parents to review how their children are getting to school and prepare them to do it safely.

"Traffic injuries are a leading cause of injury and death among young children and teens," said Erin Petersen, coordinator of Safe Kids Minnesota. "Parents and caregivers have an important role to play in checking routes to school and reviewing safe choices with kids."

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, fatal crashes are most likely to occur during morning and afternoon rush hour periods, 6:00 – 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. About a third of all pedestrian crashes and 70 percent of school bus crashes also occur during this time, with a third of weekday bicycle crashes happening during afternoon rush hours. Among teen drivers, crashes on the way to and from school are common.

"Most traffic injuries to our kids can be prevented, "said Paul Aasen, president of the Minnesota Safety Council. "A small investment of time can make all the difference for you and your family."

For a safer trip to and from school, the Minnesota Safety Council and Safe Kids Minnesota recommend:
  • If walking, choose the safest route to school, walk it with children and review basic rules about crossing streets.
  • When driving, be sure kids are buckled up properly and check with the school about designated drop-off areas.
  • Teach children to be alert to traffic when getting on and off the school bus and to make eye contact with the driver before crossing in the front of the bus.
  • For bikers, check that helmets and bikes are a good fit, assess and strengthen biking skills, plan the route, and practice riding it.
  • For teen drivers, reinforce driving practice, buckling up and limits on number of passengers.
The two organizations also remind drivers to be extra alert near schools, school buses and bus stops.

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