If you have to drive to school, please consider that children walking or biking to school help reduce traffic congestion – give them a brake and use extra caution.
Driver Safety Tips
- Speeding: Observe the 20 mph speed limit in school zones at all times. Speeding significantly increases the risk of severe injury in a crash.
- No Right Turn on Red: Obey “No Right Turn on Red” signs where posted at school intersections. This allows children to cross safely without cars turning through the crosswalk.
- Dutch reach: To exit your car, reach across your body for the door handle with your far or opposite hand. This forces you to look back over your shoulder to be sure a bicyclist is not coming from behind. Only then do you slowly open the door.
- School commute routes: Be aware of school commute routes. Young children may not be able to judge speed or distance of vehicles moving toward them, and they think cars can stop instantly.
- Reduce congestion: Try to carpool whenever possible to help reduce the congestion around schools. If you are unable to carpool, consider parking a few blocks away and walking with your child to campus. (If they are old enough, you can drop them off at this location.) This reduces congestion in the school zone and improves safety for everyone. Walking with your child the few blocks to school gives them practice on how to cross streets safely under your guidance.
- Don’t rush: Leave home a few minutes earlier instead.
- Children under 2 years of age shall ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds OR is 40 or more inches tall. The child shall be secured in a manner that complies with the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer of the car seat. (California Vehicle Code Section 27360.)
- Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
- Children who are 8 years of age OR have reached 4’9” in height may be secured by a booster seat, but at a minimum must be secured by a safety belt. (California Vehicle Code Section 27363.)
- Passengers who are 16 years of age and over are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law.
Four Key Safety Points:
- Restrain your child on every trip, every time.
- Keep your child in the back seat.
- Use the best safety restraint for your child’s size.
- Use the child safety seats and belts correctly.
What About the Front Passenger Seat?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children ages 12 years and younger should be restrained in the rear seats of vehicles for optimal protection.
The force of a deployed airbag can injure or kill a young child even in a slow-speed crash. Children ages 12 years and younger, including infants, should never be placed in a seat in front of an airbag. Riding in the back eliminates children’s risk of such injury.