With thousands of Ohio children heading back to school, the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Division of Emergency Medical Services reminds motorists to stay alert in residential areas, near schools, and in school zones.
Trauma season refers to the summer months where unintentional injuries peak for children ages 14 and under. But even as it winds down, it’s important to stay vigilant to keep children safe.
Preliminary data from Ohio’s Trauma Acute Care Registry shows 95 child pedestrians between the ages of five and 15 were severely injured in the state last school year, according to Ohio Division of EMS director Mel House.
Students need to be aware of their surroundings while traveling to and from school. Drivers are reminded to observe the law and use caution when driving near school buses. Motorists should be vigilant near schools and slow down to obey all posted school speed limits as well.
The following are tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for motorists to help keep children safe while traveling to and from school:
• Pay attention to your surroundings: when backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage.
• Watch out for children walking or bicycling to school. Know your neighborhood school zones and watch out for young people who may not be paying attention to their surroundings.
• Slow down and watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in the neighborhood. Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
• Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
• Learn and obey the school bus laws: Learn the “flashing signal light system” that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions: Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles. Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.