Tag Archives: #njwalkingschoolbusapp

Back to School Safety Tips

18 Aug

It is that time of the year again! Schools in our area are starting classes on September 5. That means it’s time for back to school preparations and going over some back to school safety tips.

Children and Parents

Taking the school bus:

  • Wait for the bus to stop before boarding and always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access
  • Walk only where you can see the bus driver (which means the driver will be able to see you too)
  • Look both ways to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street, just in case traffic does not stop as required
  • Do not move around on the bus
  • If the school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure you use one at all times when in the bus

Credit: Wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

 

If you are driving them to School:

  • All passengers should wear a seat belt or use an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat
  • Your child should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4′ 9″ in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age)
  • All children younger than 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. If you must drive more children than can fit in the rear seat (when carpooling, for example), move the front-seat passenger’s seat as far back as possible and have the child ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do not fit properly without it
  • Require teen drivers to wear a seat belt, limit the number of teen passengers, and do not allow eating, drinking, cell phone conversations, texting or other mobile device use to prevent driver distraction

 

 Biking to school:

  • Always wear a bicycle helmet
  • Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic. Use multi-use paths or bike lanes when available.
  • Learn and use appropriate hand signals
  • Respect traffic lights and stop signs.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing to increase visibility. White or light-colored clothing and reflective gear is especially important after dark.

Walking to School:

  • Choose a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards at busier intersections (note: internal neighborhood roads don’t have crossing guards so the every seems unnecessary)
  • Organize a “walking school bus,” and take turns walking children to school. Use the NJ Walking School Bus app to find other children in the neighborhood with whom your child can walk to school.
  • If your children are young or are walking to a new school, walk with them the first week or until you are sure they know the route and can do it safely.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing to increase visibility.

And drivers should lookout for children, slow down, obey speed limits in school zones and be prepared to stop for school buses.

If you want to know more about bike and pedestrian safety learn how to organize a walking school bus and how to use the NJ Walking School Bus app, go to gmtma.org.

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Hurry up, there is only one week left to participate in the “Step into Spring” contest!

26 May

There’s still time to win so don’t wait until is too late! Use the NJ Walking School Bus App to create or join walk and get entered to win prizes. You and your children get a healthy start to the day by walking them to school, and you get entered to win prizes for doing that. It’s a double win! The app is free and even keeps track of how many calories you burn.

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The contest is open to parents and their children in Mercer County and select towns in Ocean County. To qualify for the “Step into Spring. Ready, Set, Win!” contest parents have to  download the GMTMA Walking School Bus App, create an account, join an existing walking school bus group or create a new group, and schedule and participate in walks to and from school. The app is easy to use and parents can search by elementary school for existing walking groups, create walking groups and invite neighbors to join, plan walks to and from school, assign parent leaders to walk with students, group text within the app, and alert the other parents when students have arrived safely at school.

Every time parents and/or children walk to and from school, they get entered to win prizes. The more you walk the better your chances of winning! A random drawing will be conducted from all entries on June 6th.  Prizes include:

  • A set of four Trenton Thunder Tickets donated by Trenton Thunder
  • Reflective umbrellas
  • One walking school bus will be drawn at the end of the contest and receive for the group, a $100 gift card to share (think pizza/ice cream party!), reflective umbrellas for the parents and reflective drawstring backpacks for students. Additionally the school of the winning walking school bus will receive $250 to be used for safe walking and biking programs.

Enjoy your walk!

What is a Walking School Bus ?

25 Mar

We recently launched the “Step into Spring. Ready, Set, Win!” competition and we mention that participants have to use the NJ Walking School Bus App to organize walks. Some people may wonder what is a Walking School Bus and why would you need a bus to organize a walk to school?

Photo: kavalenkau/Shutterstock.com

Well, a Walking School Bus is not really a bus. It is a parent led and organized group of children that walk to school together.  It is a great way to get children to walk to school, and it can be as small as two families taking turns to walk their children to school. There is also a variation for children and parents that bike to school, and it is called a bicycle train.

How can you start a Walking School Bus? You can start by inviting families that live nearby and walk as often as you like, it could be once a week, twice a week, or every day.  Or using our NJ Walking School Bus App you can join existing groups or create new groups and participate in our contest. Winners will be announced in June! Details about the contest are available here.

How does a Walking School Bus help? It helps children get the recommended daily amount of activity, and it helps parents who lead the group get their exercise too.  Children get to socialize with their friends, get to school feeling energized and ready to learn.

A Walking School Bus also helps the community by reducing air pollution and having fewer cars on the road.

If you are interested in starting a Walking School Bus but you are not sure how, what routes you could take, let us know and we will help you get started.

And don’t forget to share your story; you could be featured on our blog.