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It's Back-to-School season!

Every fall, more than 55 million children in the US head back to school. With 13 percent of those children walking or biking to school, now is a great time to talk to kids about walking and bus safety.

School Bus Safety

The greatest risk to a child’s safety is not riding the bus but approaching or leaving one.  Download our School Bus Safety Zone poster and show your children where to stand while waiting and where to walk after exiting the bus.

Other helpful school bus tips:

  • Stay at least three giant steps back from the curb when waiting for the bus to approach.
  • Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before boarding or exiting, and use the handrails on the steps.
  • Never walk behind a school bus. When crossing the street in front of the bus, always make eye contact with the bus driver so s/he can see you.
  • Always stop and look for cars before proceeding to cross the street. Despite the brightly colored bus, warning lights and stop sign, distracted or inattentive drivers sometimes speed by a stopped bus.
  • Assure your child that the school bus is the safest transportation to school.  In fact, children are 70 times more likely to get to a school safely by taking a bus rather than traveling by car.

 

Walking to school

Talk to your children often about walking to school safely.  Remind them that taking a few simple steps can become safe habits in no time.

Be Visible – Make eye contact with drivers whenever possible when crossing the street. Wear lightly colored clothing or use reflective materials, especially at night.

Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions – Your eyes and ears are the best tools for staying safe. Put the phone down when walking and don’t wear headphones or ear buds.

Follow the Rules – Obey all traffic rules, signs and signals. Use crosswalks and sidewalks whenever possible. 

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Child Passenger Safety Week (9/15-9/21)

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children. And studies show many parents – up to 80% by some estimates – make mistakes when installing or positioning car seats. It’s no wonder…car seats can be complicated to install, and the proper fit changes as the child grows. Parents have lots of resources to help keep their kids safe and properly positioned in their car seats. 

  • Visit AAA.com/safeseats for more information, videos and links to find a certified child safety seat technician. 
  • Visit Safe Kids Worldwide for information and tips to keep kids safe from unintentional injuries, and view their “Ultimate Car Seat Guide.” 


    National Car Seat Check Saturday is September 21st. Click here to find a certified car seat technician in your area!

 

Know Your State’s Car Seat Law

State

Child Passenger Law

New York

  • All children ages 8 to 16 must wear a seat belt in all seats.

  • All children ages 4 to 8, or under 4 and over 40 lbs., must be restrained in a booster seat.

  • Children under age 4 and under 40 lbs. must be restrained in a child restraint system.

  • All children under 2 must use a rear-facing seat.

  • Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

New Jersey

  • Children under age 8 and weighing less than 80 lbs. must be in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat in the rear seat, if possible.

  • Children under 2 and weighing less than 30 pounds must be in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system. Children under 4 and weighing less than 40 pounds must be in either a rear- or rear-seat forward-facing child passenger restraint system. Children under 8 and under 57 inches must be in a forward-facing child passenger restraint system or rear-seat booster seat.

  • Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.    

Connecticut 

  • Children over 7 years of age who weigh more than 60 lbs. must be in a seat belt.

  • Children under age 8 and less than 60 lbs. are required to use a child restraint. Children under age 4 or under 40 pounds must be in a harness restraint. Children under age 2 and under 30 lbs. are required to be in a rear-facing child restraint. Children who ride in a booster seat must use a lap and shoulder belt.

  •  Children riding in a vehicle without lap and shoulder belts are exempt from complying with the booster seat requirement.

  • Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Rhode Island

  •  Children age 8 until 18, or less than 8 and who are more than 57 inches or weighing more than 80 lbs. are required to be in a seat belt.

  • All children under age 8 shall be properly restrained in the rear seat of the vehicle.

  • Children under age 8, less than 57 inches, and less than 80 lbs. must be transported in the rear seat and properly restrained in a child restraint system. Children younger than age 2 or less than 30 pounds must be in a rear-facing child restraint.

  •  A violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Massachusetts

  • Children age 8 through age 12 shall use an appropriate child restraint or wear a safety belt that is properly adjusted and fastened.

  • Children under age 8 and less than 4 feet 9 inches tall shall be properly fastened and secured by a child restraint system.

  • Violation of the child restraint law is a standard offense.

Car seats save lives, reducing the risk of injury by more than 70% and the risk of death by almost 30% than seat belts alone. Regardless of state law, AAA Northeast recommends keeping infants and young toddlers in rear-facing seats as long as possible, maxing out on the upper weight and height limits of the seat, regardless of age.  Older toddlers and children should ride in forward-facing car seats until they reach the maximum height and weight for the harness. Children should use a booster seat until they 4’ 9” tall, regardless of age. 
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