Right now, many school districts across Maricopa County are winding down for the year. Some are celebrating their final day of classes today while others are wrapping up in the days and weeks to come.
For countless children around the Valley, this is one of the most exciting times of the year. They are looking forward to time off from school to go to camps, play with friends, swim all day, or run at the park. They cannot wait to be done with homework and the strict rules that often come with a full day at school and instead are anticipating a summer of fun and play.
While there are many positives about the end of a school year, unfortunately there are some risks as well, including an increased risk for a pedestrian accident taking place.
A major risk for the safety of kids happens in and around school zones. At this time of year, many elementary schools and schools with younger children have outdoor activities, including field days, that take their students from the relative safety of their classrooms to outdoor areas. Often, these areas are near roadways, crosswalks, or intersections. If kids stay on school property, they face relatively few risks but if they get distracted, they may mistakenly dart out into traffic and into the path of an oncoming car.
Similarly, the end of the year means kids are excited and often pay less attention to the general rules of safety. When the school day ends, kids will need to get to school buses or to their parents’ vehicles to make their way home. On a normal day, kids may watch for traffic and may refrain from running where dangerous but all bets are off when they are faced with the excitement of the last day of the year. If you will be driving near a school zone, make sure you anticipate kids darting into traffic even when they should not and be prepared to stop at all times.
Once kids are home from school, the first weeks are a transitional time where many kids have a new freedom to explore their surroundings. Many will have less adult supervision than when they are in school and will be responsible for making their own safety decisions, including when and where to cross a street. Drivers who see young children should be prepared for these kids to make mistakes in judgment from time to time as these kids have not lived long enough to make experienced choices.
Phoenix is a great place for families and there are countless opportunities for kids to enjoy summers here but if a injury involving kids or minors takes place, all that potential fun may disappear. If you have young kids in your home, discuss the importance of safety with them and make sure they understand what rules they must follow. If you see kids near a school zone in the weeks to come or out without adult supervision, exercise a little more caution than normal if you are driving so that you can be sure to avoid an accident.
Prior Blog Entry:
Southbound Loop 101 between 90th Street and Chaparral Road Closed Today, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published May 23, 2016.