Learning Center

Back-to-School Safety

mother walking young student to school

Take our 'driver's ed course' on protecting young learners.

As students shift from summer-delirious to classroom-serious, adults too must keep their minds sharp – especially when it comes to protecting these school-age pedestrians.

To help, here's a refresher course on traffic safety that's particularly relevant when you consider this fact: Pedestrian injury is a leading cause of injury and death for U.S. children ages 1 to 14.

Suggestions for drivers

  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods and school zones.

  • Be alert and prepared for children's unpredictable actions, such as darting into the street without looking, or chasing an errant ball into traffic.

  • Keep an eye out for children near roads, at intersections, on medians, and close to schools, playgrounds and parks.

  • Reduce distractions inside your car. Stay off the phone, don't text, and avoid actions that take your eyes off the road, such as reaching for volume controls or beverages.

  • Never pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. Doing so is both dangerous and illegal in all 50 states.

  • If you have a teenage driver, consider enrolling in American Family's Teen Safe Driver program, which has helped reduce risky driving habits in teens by more than 70 percent.

Parents, teach your children well

If you have school-age children, take some time to remind them of these safety basics.

  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.

  • Before crossing, look left-right-left to see if cars are coming.

  • When crossing the street, walk, don't run.

  • Never dart into the street or cross between parked cars.

It's also a good idea to walk the route with your children at the beginning of the school year, so you can evaluate any potential hazards.

Of course, children learn by example, so practice what you teach.

Additional resources

Check out American Family's "Back to School Safety" video highlighting pedestrian safety tips and more.

And here are some other helpful safety resources:

Sources: Safe Kids USA; National Safety Council; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety