Chief Patrick Keefe
32 North Main St.
Andover, MA 01810
For Immediate Release
Monday, Aug. 31, 2015
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Contact: Jessica Sacco
Email: [email protected]
Andover Police Offer Back to School Safety Tips
ANDOVER — With school starting in a couple days, Chief Patrick Keefe and the Andover Police Department would like to remind the community about several important safety tips for the academic year.
Students in the Andover Public Schools will return to class on Sept. 2.
“We hope to assist families transition into the new school year safely,” Chief Keefe said. “Parents and guardians, please review these key tips to help your children avoid danger while traveling to and from school.”
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 Keefe recommends 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.
Additionally, before sending your child off to school in the morning, Andover Police suggest 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-related 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