Matthew J. King, Chief of Police
500 Great Road,
Littleton, MA 01460
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Littleton Police Offer School Safety Tips
LITTLETON — With the new school year soon to be in full swing, Chief Matthew J. King and the Littleton Police Department would like to remind the community about several important safety practices.
Students in the Littleton Public Schools District will begin classes on Sept. 2. Chief King asks that if parents and guardians have not already discussed safety procedures with their children, to please take a moment to have a conversation with them.
“We want to ensure that students are safe all year while on the bus, crossing the street and even when putting books into their backpacks,” Chief King said. “I encourage families to take a moment to review these key safety guidelines.”
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) reports that approximately 400,000 students in the state are transported to school by buses every year. While school bus travel is generally very safe, the majority of related injuries occur when boarding or exiting a bus because of passing traffic or due to walking in one of the bus driver’s blind spots. Children ages 4 to 7 are at the highest risk of injury.
Chief King suggests parents follow safety procedures outlined by DPH to prevent accidents this school season.
• Educate children on safe bus riding and walking behaviors when getting on and off the bus.
• Teach young children to take five giant steps (10 feet) in front of the bus and to wait for the driver’s signal before crossing.
• Develop appropriate bus pick-up/drop-off policies.
• Closely supervise children under age 10 who must cross the street after exiting the bus.
The fine for illegally passing a school bus is a maximum of $200, and repeat offenders may have their licenses suspended.
Parents who drive their children to school are asked to please obey school zone limits of 20 mph and to be aware of the traffic laws in the neighborhoods with schools. Littleton Police have stepped up traffic enforcement, and this will continue throughout the school year.
Additionally, before sending your child off to school in the morning, Littleton Police recommend checking backpacks to make sure they are a tolerable weight. The American Chiropractic Association advises that backpacks should weigh no more than 10 percent of a student’s body weight, as heavy pressure can negatively affect the skeletal and muscular development in children.
If walking to school, or when exiting the bus, parents and guardians should educate students about safely crossing the street. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports that pedestrian injuries are the second leading cause of unintentional injury death among school-aged children 5 to 18 years old.
Most injuries to children in kindergarten through third grade occur when they run into the street mid-block, while older students are most often hurt at intersections. To prevent potential tragedies, children should
• Be aware of pedestrian hazards and how to avoid them
• Know traffic signs and signals, and safe walking zones
• Wait for the “walk” signal at a crosswalk, or for a crossing guard to signal the OK to proceed into the street