Head Up, Phone Down

Head Up, Phone Down When Headed Back to School

Summertime offers a reprieve from school-year activities, but once fall rolls around again life becomes much more hectic. Parents and kids have a lot of new distractions to deal with: carpools, early schedules, after-school activities, bus traffic and more.

As your children march out the door on that first day of school – and every day – there is really only one priority: Making sure they get home safe.

Teens at Greater Risk

Back in 1995, children ages 5 to 9 were more at risk than any other age group under 19 for being struck by a vehicle while walking. Today, there has been a noticeable demographic shift. It is now much more likely a teenager will be hit by a car than his younger counterpart.

According to Injury Facts, of the 374 pedestrians ages 5 to 19 who died after being hit by a motor vehicle in 2017, 241 of those, or 64%, were 15 to 19 years old.

Over all age groups, since 2009, pedestrian fatalities have trended up sharply, totaling 5,977 traffic-related deaths in 2017.

Cell Phones: A Deadly Distraction

The National Safety Council is focused on efforts to eliminate distracted walking – specifically walking while using a mobile device. Kids often don't recognize the dangers of distracted walking, as this eye-opening video by Safe Kids Worldwide indicates.

Before your children head out, remind them of these year-round safety tips:

  • Never walk while texting or talking on the phone
  • If texting, move out of the way of others and stop on the sidewalk
  • Never cross the street while using an electronic device
  • Do not walk with headphones in your ears
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Always walk on the sidewalk if one is available; if you must walk on the street, face oncoming traffic
  • Look left, right, then left again before crossing the street
  • Cross only at crosswalks

Kids Aren't the Only Ones Distracted

Drivers have a lot to pay attention to in school zones, too, and there is never an occasion that justifies using a phone while driving. One call or text can change everything.

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and prevention reveals that the most common form of travel to school for students age 5 to 14 is the family car. That translates into a lot of cars in school zones at the same time. Eliminating all distractions is key to keeping children safe. Learn more about motorist safety around schools.