Mayor Mike Munzing talks about back-to-school safety in his latest message, which follows:
With summer coming to an end and a new school year about to begin, it’s essential to take steps to keep our students safe.
Whether walking, riding bikes, catching the bus or driving to school, students must take proper safety precautions. This includes motorists too!
“Getting to school safely is essential,” said Aliso Viejo Crime Prevention Specialist Julia Smith. “When riding in the car, it is important to wear a seatbelt and/or be properly fitted into a car seat. If riding to school on a bike, children should always wear a helmet and know the rules of the road. This includes hand signals.”
School days can be hectic – with kids rushing to beat the morning bell; new teen drivers on the road; and harried parents dropping off their children before work. However, we all have a responsibility to drive safely – and slow down when we are around schools or school buses.
This is imperative – as more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. Every school has specific drop-off procedures in place to help traffic flow, so be sure you know the rules and if you don’t, call your school.
Along with traffic safety, we should also educate our kids about personal safety.
“An important thing for children to know is their phone number, address and how to get in touch with their parents in the event of an emergency,” Julia said. “Also, knowing to not talk to strangers is important as well as realizing there are two types of strangers – safe strangers and bad strangers. Safe strangers are people in uniform like law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, teachers, etc. Children also need to be instructed on the situations that could happen and/or recognizing suspicious behavior. This includes the lost dog situation, a stranger asking the child for directions or offering candy. It’s essential for parents to educate their kids as to the real dangers that unfortunately do exist.”
The National Safety Council offers a host of great tips– from backpack and playground safety to preventing sports injuries and bullying – which I hope you will keep in mind now and year-round. (Click here for details)
When it comes to back-to-school season or any time of the year, keeping our children safe must always be our number-one priority. I wish all Aliso Viejo students a safe, happy and productive school year.