A Perspective From a Parent and a Lawyer For Child Injury
It is back to school time and, at our house, this is a crazy time—getting supplies, meeting new teachers and figuring out a new schedule and how we will make it all work. Parents all across Iowa are dealing with the same stress, including trying to figure out how they are going to get their kids to and from school. Parents have a hard enough time worrying about just getting kids to and from school and they shouldn’t have to worry about their safety on the way. This article is intended to provide some tips for helping your kids get to and from school safely and some information that may be helpful if your child gets hurt while travelling to and from school. Here are a few things to consider to keep kids safe:
Riding a bike to school
Most kids love riding their bikes and for some families this can be a great way for a kid to get to and from school, at least before the first snow fall. Pediatricians agree that it is critical for children to wear a helmet while riding their bikes. Our office donates to a number of events where free bicycle helmets are provided for children who need them. Safe Kids Linn County often gives out free bicycle helmets. On With Life and the Brain Injury Alliance are giving out free helmets at the Iowa State Fair. If you cannot afford a bike helmet for your child and are unable to find a free giveaway, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do my best to help. Another precaution parents can take is to make sure your child knows their route to school, including where they should cross each road and has practiced riding that route.
Walking to school
Lots of kids walk to school. It is a good idea to practice your child’s route with them and to remind them to walk on the sidewalk and of safe crossing practices. A number of Cedar Rapids Schools offer Walking School Bus, which is a group of students walking to and from school with one or more adults.
Driving to school
Having teenagers is incredibly stressful and when they start driving parents are constantly worried. One thing to remember is that in Iowa, persons under the age of 18 must have a graduated driver’s license (GDL). These are the levels for licenses in Iowa:
- Age 14 - Learner’s Permit (only drive with adult)
- Age 14½ - School Permit (can only drive alone to and from school activities)
- Age 16 - Provisional License (completed driver’s education and had learner’s permit for one year)
- Age 17 - Unrestricted License (had intermediate driver’s license and been accident free for 12 months).
See the Iowa DMV website for more information. https://www.dmv.org/ia-iowa/teen-drivers.php
Taking the bus to school
Many children take the bus to school. Make sure your child knows the name/number of their bus, the name of their bus driver and where they should catch the bus. If possible, children should wait with an adult or in a group for the bus to arrive. If you have specific concerns about your child on the bus, you should express those to the driver.
Unfortunately, despite all of the precautions that we take as parents, sometimes our children will get hurt on their way to or from school. If your child’s injury was caused by another person, such as a negligent motorist, or a homeowner who did not keep their sidewalk safe, you may want to speak with a lawyer for child injury about claims that your child may have. A lawyer for child injury can help you understand what potential claims are available and how to bring those claims, given that a child cannot pursue those claims themselves. A child injury attorney will also be able to provide guidance about medical bills, dealing with the insurance company and obtaining court approval for any settlement.