Above / Naperville Police urge “A Safer Naper” for all students returning to District 203 schools on Aug. 17 and District 204 schools on Aug. 24. Students as well as drivers need to be prepared to obey crossing guards. (PN File Photo)
As Naperville school children begin the 2023-24 school year in the next two weeks, the Naperville Police Department asks that families and motorists make back-to-school safety a priority to ensure a safe and successful start to the new school year.
Safety Tips for Families
Teach ‘Say NO, GO and TELL.’
Before the first day of school, parents should talk to their students about safety and make sure to follow these tips:
- Students should know their home address and phone number as well as a parent’s cell phone number. Help your child practice it so they have it memorized before school begins.
- There is safety in numbers. Be sure children use the buddy system and always walk to and from school with a friend or stay with a group at the bus stop.
- When walking or biking to school, students should stay within the crosswalks and obey all traffic signals and signs. They should follow designated Safe Walk Routes (www.naperville.il.us/walkroutes) and obey all crossing guards. If children ride their bikes to school, make sure they wear a helmet and reflective clothing and stay on the sidewalk when one is available.
- Before the first day of school, walk to and from school with your child. If your student will be riding the bus, visit the bus stop with your children and be sure they know their bus numbers.
- Teach children the safety rule, “Say NO, GO and TELL.” If anyone approaches your child, offers them a ride, asks for directions or makes them feel uncomfortable, instruct them to say “NO,” get away from the situation (GO), and TELL a trusted adult. Be sure to discuss with your child who trusted adults may be: teachers, parents, a friend’s parents, neighbors, police officers, firefighters, relatives, etc.
- Make sure children understand never to leave school with anyone they haven’t been instructed to leave with by you. If someone comes up to them and tells them that there is an emergency and they want your child to go with them, be sure they know to “check first” with you or another trusted adult (school personnel) before doing so.
- If your students will be taking care of themselves after school, please provide them with the “On Your Own” safety materials found at www.naperville.il.us/npdschoolprograms.
Safety Tips for Motorists
Plan ahead, avoid rushing, slow down
Children will once again be walking to school through neighborhoods, waiting at bus stops and being dropped off at schools by parents and buses. The beginning of the school year is an especially important time to check your driving behavior and ensure you are practicing the safest driving habits. Motorists can assist with keeping children safe when headed back-to-school by following these tips:
- Plan ahead and leave home earlier than normal to allow enough time to reach your destination without rushing.
- Always come to a complete stop at stop signs and be sure to check carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding. Drivers should always be prepared to yield the right-of-way and should not drive unnecessarily close to pedestrians. Be sure to obey crossing guards and student safety patrols.
- Slow down! Remember, school speed zones are reduced for a reason. When entering a school zone, slow down to 20 mph and be extra alert for children on foot and on bicycles.
- Be cautious when approaching school buses. It is illegal to proceed around a school bus with the stop sign arm engaged. Please be patient as children enter and exit school buses.
- Eliminate distractions. Leave time in the morning to eat and groom before entering your vehicle and stay off the phone while driving. As a reminder, Illinois bans the use of all hand-held devices while driving in Illinois as well as texting while driving.
- Follow each school’s traffic and parking plans and signage. This includes adhering to parking signage on nearby streets. If you have questions or want more information on your school’s traffic and parking plans, please contact your school.
- Lock your car doors and remove valuables before exiting your vehicle at schools and daycares. Even if you’ll only be gone for a brief time, leaving valuables in plain sight or leaving your doors unlocked is an invitation for thieves.
- Talk to your teen. According to AAA, nearly one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occurs during the after-school hours of 3 to 7PM. Remind them to slow down, reduce distractions and be aware of their surroundings.
The Naperville Police Department is dedicating its monthly #ASaferNaper crime prevention campaign to back-to-school safety.
For more back-to-school safety tips, visit www.naperville.il.us/asafernaper.