Yuma Police Department offers back-to-school safety tips

With the opening of public school districts in Yuma County last week and this week, Yuma Police Department officials are reminding drivers and parents how to stay safe in school zones.

Officials remind motorists that the posted speed limit in a school zone is 15 miles per hour from one portable sign to another. Drivers may not proceed through a school zone crosswalk until all pedestrians have cleared the crosswalk.

Parents are encouraged to discuss pedestrian safety and encourage children to use designated school crossing zones.

Check out the photo gallery above for more safety tips.

Walking:

Should:

  • Please make sure your child leaves early enough to arrive at school 10 minutes before school starts.
  • Use the same route every day and avoid shortcuts.
  • Go straight home after school.
  • Students must use public sidewalks and streets when walking to school.
  • Choose the safest route between home and school and practice walking it with the children until they can demonstrate road safety awareness.
  • Walk to school with other students. Strength in numbers.
  • Teach children to recognize and obey traffic signs and pavement markings.
  • Cross at designated crosswalks, street corners, and traffic-controlled intersections.
  • Always look both ways before crossing the street and never enter streets between parked cars or behind bushes.
  • Walk, don’t run, through intersections. A flashing “walk” signal or the crossing guard on the street will not No means it is safe to cross, double check that the intersection is clear.
  • Avoid talking to strangers and keep distance between them and anyone who tries to approach or make contact with them.
  • Never get into a vehicle with a person, even if you know them, without parental permission. If a stranger approaches, tell a trusted adult, like a parent or teacher.

Should not:

  • Please allow your child to be at school more than 15 minutes prior to the start of school as crossing guards, teachers, or aides may not be at school to monitor your child.
  • Going to a friend’s house without getting permission.
  • Walk to school using canals, alleys, and across yards or open fields.
  • Walk alone, as you will be an easier target for harassment, intimidation, or an approach from a stranger.
  • Running to cross the street or intersection or crossing in the middle of the block, especially in high-traffic areas. Never allow children under the age of 10 to cross the street alone.
  • Talk to a stranger or get within reach of that person. That includes taking a ride from a stranger or someone they know without parental permission.

Drive bikes:

Bicycles are associated with more childhood injuries than any other consumer product except the automobile. To make sure children are safe when they ride their bikes to school:

  • Check with your school principal to make sure bikes are allowed. Some schools do not allow students to ride bicycles until a specific grade.
  • Wear a helmet! It is required by city ordinance, and failure to use it could result in a traffic ticket. More importantly, helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries by up to 85 percent.
  • Obey traffic rules; the rules are the same for all vehicles, including bicycles.
  • Stay on the right side of the road and drive in the same direction as traffic.
  • Know and use proper hand signals.
  • Choose the safest route between home and school and practice it with children until they can demonstrate road safety awareness.

Traveling by bus:

Although riding the bus is one of the safest ways to get to and from school, injuries can still happen, and most of them happen when children get on or off the bus. Some safety tips for traveling by bus are:

  • Please arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
  • Stay off the street and don’t play while you wait.
  • Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting on or off.
  • Remain seated and keep your head and arms inside the bus at all times.
  • Do not yell or distract the driver.
  • Do not walk in the driver’s “blind spot” – the area from the front of the bus to approximately 10 feet in front of the bus.

Driving:

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths among children ages 14 and under. To reduce the risk of injury:

  • Always use child safety seats and seat belts correctly when driving or riding in a car.
  • Arrive early, especially the first few weeks of school, and use the designated area to drop off and pick up students from school.
  • Do not double park or make a U-turn in front of the school. Police officers issue citations for traffic violations and there is no warning or grace period.
  • Children must enter and exit the car on the sidewalk.
  • Please pick up your child on time so they are not left waiting near or outside the school unattended.

If you have any questions about school safety or other concerns, please contact the Yuma Police Department at 373-4700 or School Resource Police Sergeant Pino (928) 373-4772.

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