The kids are about to head back to school, so it’s time to see if the uniforms still fit, buy shoes with plenty of extra growing room and spend a fortune on shiny new stationery. It’s also time to prepare the car – and yourself – for the daily journeys ahead if you’re on school run duty. Read on for our checklist so you can make it as safe and stress-free as possible.
Ensure that car seats, booster seats and seatbelts fit well for every passenger, especially considering any growth spurts that may have occurred over the summer. Our patrols have seen many ill-fitting car seats when rescuing members by the roadside, and these carry a risk of serious or fatal injury in the event of a collision. The video below takes you through the law around child car seats, and the most important things to look out for when you’re buying or fitting them.
The RSA holds free ‘Check It Fits’ events all over the country, where an expert will do exactly that. Check their website to see when they will be in a location near you.
If you can’t make it to one of those, you can consult the retailer you purchased from for advice. Some offer checks and fitting, even if you didn’t purchase the car seat from them. A child car seat expert should be able to advise you on which type of car seat is suitable for your child’s height and weight should also offer to fit the seat into your car to make sure it is a suitable match.
Make sure to set a good example, too, by always wearing your own seatbelt.
Roads around school gates can become very congested with cars, buses, cyclists and pedestrians so plan ahead so you know exactly how to get there and leave more time than you think you’ll need for the trip. Many schools have designated drop-off points for children – find out if your children’s school does. If you have to choose your own drop-off point, make sure that it’s on the same side of the road as the school gate so children don’t have to cross. Make sure not to obstruct school bus drop-off points, and be extra vigilant when buses are dropping off children.
When you are in the vicinity of the school gate, stay calm and vigilant and expect the unexpected, such as children running into the road, parents pushing buggies or prams, or cyclists appearing out of your blind spots. Watch out for lollipop men or women and obey their signs and signals.
Children under 12 should always be accompanied if walking or cycling to school, and it’s never too early to start talking to them about road safety. Even if they usually get a lift or a bus to school, it’s vital that they learn to cross the road safely. Make sure they know the Safe Cross Code dance!
It’s good advice at any time, but make sure that your oil, tyre pressure, coolant and screen washer are all topped up, especially if your car hasn’t had much use over the summer – the last thing you want on the school run is to break down!
AA Membership is available for as little as €8.25 per month and offers 24/7 emergency cover, so if disaster strikes and you do break down, we’ll get you back on the road as soon as possible.
Main image by Stacy Sanchez, used under CC licence.