Keeping your child safe while they walk to bus or school

News 12 This Morning

August 16, 2013

(WRDW)--It's been just two days since officers say a 13-year-old boy was hit in the leg after school while trying to cross Harlem-Grovetown Road at a point where there was no cross walk.

He wasn't seriously injured, but he's among many children 14 and under--about 13,000 a year--who are injured yearly while walking on the street.

Raising the question of how parents can make walking to and from school or the bus a safer experience for their children.

"One of the things they want to start thinking about is visibility," said Rene Hopkins. "Even before they start training their children. How easy is their child to be seen?"

Rene Hopkins with Safe Kids Greater Augusta says that putting your child in brighter clothes and using reflective pieces can make all the difference.

"Even a child dressed completely in white can be seen at only 180 feet to come to a stop," said Hopkins.

She says just one square inch of reflective material allows your child to be seen up to 500 feet away.

Taki Gartrell with Georgia Safe Routes to School says another smart option for keeping your child pedestrian safe is to have them travel in numbers.

"They need to be aware of not walking alone," said Gartrell.

Gartrell says parents can try working together to make this happen.

"You could have a meeting spot as a group and walk together," she suggested.

And both say following the rules is also key.

"Safety is first," said Gartrell. "Safety is important in not just walking to school but in everyday aspects of life."

"All the other rules still pertain, but if you can't be seen--if you're not following the rules, tragedy can still happen," said Hopkins.

Parents can find child pedestrian safety materials through both organizations. Just head to http://www.saferoutesga.org/ or http://www.scsaferoutes.org/ for South Carolina parents.

Or, head to http://www.grhealth.org/ for materials from Safe Kids Greater Augusta.


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