School's back in sessionA new school year began Tuesday in Pierce County and throughout Wisconsin
Tuesday was the first day of school for more than 1 million Wisconsin children, and it's also time for parents to school themselves again on some basic safety tips. One of the greatest dangers is kids being left in closed vehicles, says Pam Moen of AAA Wisconsin. Deaths from hyperthermia (heat stroke) have occurred in 11 months of the year in 46 of the 50 states, she adds.
"I think a lot of people are under the misbelief that temperatures have to be extremely high in order to endanger people or pets in vehicles, but that's not the case."
Although it's the unofficial start of fall, temperatures are still very warm, and children left inside a closed vehicle even for a few minutes can be in danger. Moen says it can become life-threatening suddenly.
"Even on a very comfortable day, when the sun is shining and the windows are rolled up, the temperature inside that vehicle can raise to deadly levels very, very quickly."
Moen also reminds drivers to watch for children who may dart out into the street, and says that school-age children can easily misjudge the distance and speed of motor vehicles. School-day afternoons are the most dangerous time, with more young pedestrians killed between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. than at any other time of day.
Back-to-school is a time of transition, Moen notes, so drivers need to be extra alert.
"A lot of things change with family schedules and traffic patterns. It's really important that everybody takes a moment to think about safety, whether it's watching out for children in neighborhoods or school zones, or changing traffic patterns."
Moen says patience is important. It's not only dangerous, but also illegal, to drive around a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. School zone speed limits are purposefully set low, she points out. Wisconsin law says even if there is no posted speed limit, drivers are required to slow to 15 miles an hour if a child is present in a school zone or if a school crossing guard is within a crosswalk.
Courtesy of the Wisconsin News Connection.