Safety Tips as New School Year Begins

Safety Tips for Back to School

The carefree, long lazy days of summer are almost over and another school year is fast approaching.  This means different morning routines for most of us with school-age children.  It also is a time to reinforce certain safety issues with our kids that they may have forgotten over the summer.  This list should serve as a helpful reminder to review with your children.

1.  Stop for school buses and children in the cross-walks.  I put this one first even though it has more to do with us adults then it does children, but then again it also applies to teenage drivers.  We're all in a rush to get to work, school, etc in the morning.  But nothing, I repeat, nothing is more important than exercising the utmost caution when operating a vehicle -- especially in areas where school children walk to school or wait at bus stops.  Children late for school are notorious for dashing out in front of cars or coming from blind spots.  When in the presence of a school bus or cross walk where children are present, be hyper-alert and take your time, a 30 second delay in getting where you are going is not going to make or break you.

2.  Stay seated on the school bus.  Children need to be reminded to keep their arms and hands inside the bus.  The bus driver has enough to worry about.  Further, until the bus comes to a complete stop, kids should remain seated, it is too dangerous otherwise.

3. Obey all traffic signals.  Just as drivers need to be mindful of pedestrians, pedestrians need to be mindful of all posted traffic signs and lights.  Pedestrians are at a disadvantage.  They are utterly unprotected from oncoming traffic when they are in the street.  They must therefore be vigilant and try to avoid all traffic dangers as best as they can.  That starts by obeying the traffic/pedestrian signals and signs. 

4. Wear helmet while riding bikes.  As most of us know, it is illegal for anyone under 17 years old to ride a bike in New Jersey without a helmet.  While it may have been deemed uncool back when I was a kid to ride a bike with a helmet, since this law was passed many years ago, it has now become the norm, and besides legally, kids don't have a choice in this matter.

5. Check playground equipment at school.  New regulations are in place whereby the ground cover under slides, swings and jungle gyms must meet certain minimum standards.  Specifically, the ground cover must be filled in up to a certain depth to provide acceptable shock absorption for falls that are inevitable to happen.  Check the standards and then bring a ruler the next time you are at school and see if the depth requirements are met.  If not, alert a school administrator of your concerns.

6. Stop bullying at all costs.  Not only does New Jersey have a strong anti-bullying law in place, the ramifications of your child being deemed a bully will be long-reaching and can haunt your child for the rest of their lives.  This point is deserving of a full blog post in and of itself.  But, at bare minimum, know this: if your child assaults another child, you, as the parent, can be sued and a claim can be made against your homeowners insurance policy resulting in higher premiums and litigation that could last for years.

7.  Make sure students walking have reflective materials on backpacks.  Just as summer has almost come and gone, before we know it, we will be "falling back,"  meaning less daylight.  Less, daylight combined with more children walking the streets to and from school is a dangerous combination.  Minimize vehicular accidents involving pedestrians by making sure your child has some type of reflective decals on his/her backpacks or somewhere else on their person. 

8. Keep eye out for uneven pavement.  Children who walk to school should be familiar with their route and will ultimately get to know where problematic portions of uneven pavement on the sidewalk are.  Encourage your children to tell you where those problematic sidewalk portions that constitute tripping hazards are.  In turn, alert your township which has a duty to maintain and fix the sidewalks.  Once the township is on notice and fails to do something about it, the township would be hard-pressed to disclaim responsibility if something happened later on.

9. Don't use handicap spaces.  Unless you are authorized to use such a space, please do not use those spaces even to drop your children off.  It forces those with disabilities to walk greater distances or put themselves in harms way when there is no real justification for doing so.  Further it's rude and illegal.

10. Be aware of your surroundings.  As a personal injury lawyer, I see all types of cases and believe it or not, parents do sue other parents for the negligent acts of their children.  For example, parents have been sued where their child was running in the hallway at school and accidently bumping into someone who was coming around the corner causing them injuries.  Obviously, we can't control our kids once they are in school, but reinforcing common courtesy and safety can save everyone a lot of potential heartache and money.

The Law Office of Daniel J. McCarey, LLC has office locations in Scotch Plains, NJ and New York City.  We handle car, motorcycle and truck accidents, construction accidents, dog bites, product liability, wrongful death and medical malpractice claims.  For more information, please call (908) 939-8055 or visit our website at http:www//mccareylaw.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ridgewooder August 25, 2012 at 05:29 AM
Cars get recycled. End of story.
Chingones Jefferson August 25, 2012 at 10:40 AM
I agree Jack. First and foremost these bikers need to get over and out of the lane of travel. And enough with the ultra tight shirts and shorts with the vibrant logos. Yeah your really sponsored. What a bunch of cheesy losers.
Dentss Dunnagun August 25, 2012 at 02:18 PM
First off let me just say I have seen bikers without their spandex and logo sponsored extra tight shirts ...and it ain't prettyhttp://www.zombietime.com/world_naked_bike_ride_2007/
Eric P August 25, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Wow. Seems that any sort of online article that mentions bicycles brings out the haters. Its fun to ride a bike. You should try it. Its fun to ride in a group, you go even faster. You should try that too. The right sort of clothing for an activity helps. I'd much rather have someone laugh at what I'm wearing, rather than have them say "Honest officer, I swear I never saw him." I must admit that I laugh at people wearing XXXL Flyers or Eagles jerseys that are as tight as my spandex.
Porterincollingswood August 25, 2012 at 04:24 PM
I don't have an issue with it - unless it's being done on a busy road that's far too narrow for that kind of activity. Like along Copper River (South side, North is OK). Widen the road and you can dress up like Santa while riding for all I care. Wearing a sports jersey of another person is odd. Wearing a jersey of someone younger than you is, to me, a violation. That said, I don't see the parallel. One can show their support for a team that represents where they are from. Wearing a shirt with "illy" on it suggests support for...what exactly? It's a costume.
esther January 17, 2013 at 01:31 AM
Talk about safety- how about delayed openings when the roads are icy and slick and dangerous for our children? Sidewalks not shoveled and de-icer not applied? We needed a delayed opening today- why wasn't one called? Surrounding towns did!
Michael January 17, 2013 at 11:18 AM
screw that... I want to see the car thats about to hit me so I can get out of the way. The day all cars observe all traffic laws I might give it a shot but you're out of your mind to ride a bike with the flow of traffic in NJ or NY. Another lib law that will get you killed.
Michael January 17, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Gary B is another lib moron, I will ride a damn Tri-cycle If I choose, and probably still beat your hairless ass to work. I am glad this jerk stays with the flow of traffic, lube up Gary so you can squeeze your small package into that seal suit. Oh he is such a professional cyclist, I am sure Gary is great at everything he does, especially cooking asparagus and grass clippings, cause Gary would never put anything like a Cheesburger in that perfect body of his. This jerk is one of the reasons why you hardly see kids ride bikes anymore, never mind to try to turn them into cyclists as qualified as Gaaarrry is to pedal to work.
Michael January 17, 2013 at 11:40 AM
of course Uniony is just another lib who feels the school should be involved more with raising your children vs teaching them math and english. I am glad the kids ride without helmets, I am glad to see kids riding bikes at all, libs have sucked the fun out of everything for these kids today, who the hell wants to ride a bike with 10 pounds of safety equipment on them. Riding a bike is about common sense, no padding in the world is going to stop you from getting hurt if you don't have common sense.
Michael January 17, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Of course Gary B. is wrong with all his facts, most professional cyclists dont live longer than cheesburger eaters. Most employee's don't live in biking distance to their employers thanks to the libs laws and taxes pushing business farther and farther away, Nature produces the most of all those emissions he so proudly pretends to know about. You see the Bible is a lie, but the scientists Gary never met tell the gospel truth. pray ye to our father Al Gore.
Michael January 17, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Thank you Cathleen, you see... libs never take responsibility for anything they do or say, so having a kid, is just like sun cooking a Tomato to them. They take a tomato, put it out in the sun, stare at it for a few years while it cooks, get bored move on to something else, and blame others for the tomato getting rotten.
Sue Howell January 17, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Wait..Esther, the schools were closed yesterday. What do you mean?
Sue Howell January 17, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Scratch that comment...I just realized we must live in different towns...the article said my town at the top but I just saw it's the Scotch Plains/Fanwood one when my comment was posted. My bad!
stewart resmer January 17, 2013 at 01:23 PM
If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal." John Kennedy 1960
jp1 January 17, 2013 at 01:33 PM
Give tickets to speeding school bus drivers.
Michael January 17, 2013 at 01:33 PM
yeah Stewart, he was a true example of a lib, do as I say, not as I do.... You can see where that got him and most of his crooked family. The Hypocrisy of Liberals.
Ojo Rojo January 17, 2013 at 01:38 PM
It should be perfectly legal to make idiot bike riders hood ornaments.
Joe Taxpayer January 17, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Good thing the guy who almost became the victim had a gun to defend himself against the criminal! When are we going to get better criminals who follow the laws? http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20130117_Guard_at_Camden_check-cashing_firm_shoots__kills_would-be_robber.html
stewart resmer January 17, 2013 at 01:41 PM
yeah Michael-A Party member…is supposed to live in a continuous frenzy of hatred of foreign enemies and internal traitors, triumph over victories, and self-abasement before the power and wisdom of the Party. The discontents produced by his bare, unsatisfying life are deliberately turned outwards and dissipated by such devices as the Two Minutes Hate, and the speculations which might possibly induce a sceptical or rebellious attitude are killed in advance by his early acquired inner discipline…called, in Newspeak, crimestop. Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.
NJarhead January 17, 2013 at 01:42 PM
JFK would be appauld at what the democratic party has become.
stewart resmer January 17, 2013 at 02:00 PM
ap·pall/əˈpɔl/ Show Spelled [uh-pawl] Show IPA verb (used with object) to fill or overcome with horror, consternation, or fear; dismay: I am appalled at your mistake. Also, appal. Origin: 1275–1325; Middle English < Middle French ap ( p ) allir to grow or make pale, equivalent to a- a-5 + pal ( l ) ir in same sense; see pale1 Synonyms horrify, daunt. See frighten.
NJarhead January 17, 2013 at 02:07 PM
Excuse my typing/spelling error, I meant to type appalled. My point remains. Would you like me to provide some more low hanging fruit for you to grasp at? Also of note: Today, another M.O. of the Liberal is (aside from grasping the afore mentioned low hanging fruit), is to change the subject. Many times we see it in the spirit of that of an elementary school child, as in this case. Even when it's thought out and vaguely clever, it's usually still juvenile and lacking in maturity.
Michael January 17, 2013 at 02:17 PM
I vote to place Stewart at the top of the list to deny him a gun permit. If he already has one, please post his full name, address, phone #, and list of friends and relatives that may possibly be related, in several major news papers.
Michael January 17, 2013 at 02:33 PM
This nut job just described a Lib to perfection, and yet he doesn't realize he is talking about himself. I guess protective stupidity really does exist. Thats why its always the Lib promoting fear of corporate greed, fear of losing government handouts (which is really legal robbery), fear that cutting union waste in schools will make children dumb, cutting union waste in police and fire will make us less safe, fear that our existence is destroying the planet. Tax, Blame, run blindly forward without discipline or thought. Thanks Stewart, that helped me understand how F'd up you people are.
Hookerman January 17, 2013 at 02:37 PM
“JFK would be appauld at what the democratic party has become.” As would Lincoln be at the current train wreck that calls itself the GOP.
NJarhead January 17, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Hookerman, you're right. There's little question of that.
Kevin M January 17, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Absolutely jp1, school bus drivers are speeding all over NJ unabated. Here in Parsippany, no tickets are given because most of our police officers are being promoted and sit behind desks while no one is out on the road.
Edward P. Campbell January 17, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Steward, are you the same Steward in this story? http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/01/19/rash-of-violent-break-ins-in-northern-n-j-targeting-jewelry-cash/ $40,000 dollars in Jewelry? WOW!
stewart resmer January 17, 2013 at 03:55 PM
EPC that would be me, 3 homes the same day on the same block, 15 more in the following days elswhere.
Teresa Michel January 17, 2013 at 04:15 PM
not sure what town you are referring to, but delayed openings are a real hassle for working parents. When I dropped my kids off at their usual start time, the roads were clear and so were the sidewalks at the school.


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