Car Safety Tips for School Drop Off and Pick Up

The new school year just began in most of the country, and unless your kids ride the bus or ride with a trusted friend or family member, there's one thing that parents everywhere dread this time of year. Yep- drop off and pick up. It doesn't matter whether or not you leave your house at the same time every single morning- anything can and will happen on the commute between home and your child's school, and you just have to leave time to allow for those unplanned delays.

The drop-off and pick up line has become a bit of a personal headache for me, and I know I'm not alone here. In the mornings, it's just me and my seven-year-old son in the car, so it's pretty quiet. In the afternoons, however, I have my two-year-old with me, and we sit in the car line for about twenty minutes before my son steps foot into the back seat. That's a short amount of time for most, but enough time for meltdowns, and even accidents, if we're not careful.

Here are my top tips for safely surviving the school car line...

Give yourself enough time to travel

I leave the house almost 25-30 minutes before the end of the school day. I live about ten minutes away from the school. I take into account the fact that I have a toddler to strap into a car seat, plus the fact that there's road work happening all over town. I never know if I'll wind up behind a school bus, or if I'll get stuck in a long line of traffic, so I like to allow extra time for travel.

Make sure everything works

Wiper blades, headlights, the A/C, the radio. I check everything in/on my vehicle on a weekly basis to make sure that everything is working well. Not long ago, I discovered that one of my wiper blades was losing its rubber- on a rainy day, of course! I ordered new blades and had them changed within two days so I wouldn't risk not being able to see properly while driving. It's just not worth risking anyone's safety by putting maintenance issues off.

Keep kids entertained

I keep a little bin in the back seat between my kids. There are small toys in the bin, as well as books, which they can easily reach. My toddler hates being stuck in the car line while we wait for her brother to get out of school, but if she has something to do, it makes the waiting time much more bearable. We also play music and sing songs to pass the time.

Safety first

Once we pull the car to a safe stopping place in the pickup line, I put the car in park, open the windows (a little bit), and then turn the car off. We only do this on nice weather days. If it's too hot out and the sun is beating in on us, as it often does at 3 pm, I leave the car running with the A/C on to keep us cool. I make sure the child lock is on my toddler's door, so she can't accidentally open her car door. I also keep the car locked until we reach the area where the teachers are loading kids into their vehicles.

After Pick-Up...

Once my child is in the car after school, I slowly drive out of the parking lot, not pulling out onto the road a second before I know his seatbelt is on and clicked into place. I allow time for him to get his backpack situated, as ask that shoes be kept on until we get back home. We keep the radio on, but turned down, and we chat about my son's day, rather than blare music. With so much traffic entering and exiting the school property at the same time, I really have to watch and prefer to limit all distractions.

Once we're home, we catch up with one another, have relaxation time and a snack, and then start on homework. It's a lot of hard work to keep your kids safe at all times, but it's absolutely worth it!

What are your top tips for keeping kids safe when dropping them off or picking them up from school?

Brought to you by Central Ave Nissan.

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