Back-to-school safety tips from police

Now that Labor Day is here, the start of the new school year for Michigan K-through-12 students is a day away.

With that in mind, the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department has some safety tips. For kids heading back to class, they suggest:

— always arriving at the bus stop early.

— waiting to get on the bus until it’s completely stopped, the doors are open and the bus driver says it’s OK to get on.

— going quickly to a seat once on the bus and staying seated until the bus arrives at school or at another drop-off location.

— not moving around on the bus.

— always walking on the sidewalk when preparing to cross the street near a bus and making eye contact with the driver.

— never walking behind the bus.

— staying at least 10 feet away from the bus if you’re walking alongside it.

— taking extra precaution to make sure book bags or clothing with drawstrings on it aren’t caught in the bus’s handrail or door.

— never stopping to pick something up that you’ve dropped while a bus is stopped. Police suggest waiting until the bus has driven away to avoid going unseen by the driver.

The Sheriff’s Department also recommends that motorists:

— take extreme caution when driving in a school zone because children’s actions are often unpredictable.

— drive carefully in areas with no sidewalks and be alert to the possibility that kids may be walking in the road.

— be aware that children may be playing near bus stops.

— take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.

— enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.

— reduce distractions inside your car to concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

— avoid texting or talking on the phone while driving.

— slow down and prepare to stop whenever yellow school bus lights are flashing.

— never pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing for two reasons; it’s a sign that kids are getting on or off of the bus, and it’s also the law.

Finally, the Sheriff’s Department has some tips for anyone traveling to and from school. They suggest:

— planning a walking route to school or to the bus stop, which should be the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and which uses intersections with crossing guards if possible.

— that parents walk the route to school with kids beforehand and remind their kids to stay away from parks, fields, vacant lots and other places without many people around.

— teaching kids to never talk to strangers, accept rides from strangers or accept gifts from strangers, with a stranger being anyone you or your children don’t know well or don’t trust.

— making sure your child walks to and from school or the bus stop with a sibling, a friend or a neighbor.

— teaching kids, however they get to school, to obey traffic signals, signs and traffic officers and to be especially careful in bad weather.

— dropping kids off or picking them up as close to school as possible if giving kids a ride and, if dropping kids off, waiting until the kids are in the schoolyard or building before driving away.

— making sure that kids that bike to school wear helmets that meet safety standards.

— checking that children who ride a scooter to school wear sturdy shoes, a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads.

— checking that kids know information like their home address, either their home phone number or their parents’ cell phone number, where their parent(s) work and the phone number of that workplace, the phone number of another trusted adult and how to call 911 in an emergency.