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Take care as schools open Thursday

August 9, 2017
North Fort Myers Neighbor

An estimated 95,000 students across Lee County will head back to school Thursday as the new academic year begins.

That means at least three things for parents: Get ready for the morning rush, get your wallets out, and dust off your safety plan for small walkers and bus riders.

Parents who have waited to start or finish their back-to-school shopping got a small break this past weekend via the state's "tax-free weekend."

Every little bit helps with these must-do shopping expeditions, the second most costly behind helping Santa fill the space under the tree.

According to the National Retail Federation, families with children in grades K-12 will spend an average $687.72 on clothes, shoes, accessories, electronics and school supplies - the highest level since 2012.

Parents say they will spend an average $238.89 on clothing, $204.33 on electronics, $130.38 on shoes and $114.12 on school supplies, the federation website states.

That's a pretty penny, with total spending for K-12 and college expected to reach $83.6 billion, up from last year's $75.8 billion," the federation estimates.

Meanwhile, open houses at School District of Lee County Schools were held over the weekend. If you missed yours, visit the District website at .

Parents also have one more must do: Preparing their children for the start of the new academic year by emphasing safety.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has provided a pretty comprehensive list that we have shared in the past:

* Be alert while backing up:

- Walk around your vehicle to check for children playing.

- Turn off your radio to better hear your surroundings.

- Keep your foot on the brake until you completely shift into reverse.

- Back out slowly.

- Teach children to never play in, on, around or under vehicles.

- Know your vehicle's blind spots and look again before backing.

* Pedestrian and bicycle safety:

- While on a bicycle, ride in the same direction as traffic and obey all traffic signs, signals and lane markings.

- Always use a headlight and taillight at night.

- Pedestrians should use the sidewalk if there is one; if not, walk on the side of the road facing traffic.

- Always cross streets where pedestrians are expected, such as corners and crosswalks.

-Be visible. Wear bright and reflective colors on your clothes, shoes and wristbands.

* Bus safety:

- Motorists are required to stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing and "STOP" arms extended.

- The only time traffic approaching an oncoming school bus does not need to stop, is if there is a raised barrier such as a concrete divider or at least five feet of unpaved space separating the lanes of traffic.

- Motorists should be alert and watch for children especially near schools, bus stops and school buses and in school parking lots.

- At bus stops, children should wait in a safe place away from the road.

-Children should never walk behind a bus.

* Seatbelt child restraint:

- Buckle up. A seatbelt is your vehicle's most important safety feature, but it only works if you use it.

- Florida law requires the use of seat belts by drivers of motor vehicles and all children riding in a vehicle under the age of 18.

- Keep children in the back seat, at least through age 12, if possible. Front seat air bags, when deployed, can be dangerous to children.

- The law requires children 4 and 5 years of age to ride in a booster seat.

Be aware, take care. Make it a safe -and productive - school year.

-Neighbor editorial



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