Making the move “Back-to-School” a safe one

September is here and kids from coast to coast are finally heading back to the classroom. After a year of school closures and virtual learning, many families are hoping for a much more normal—and safe—school year. Although protecting kids from the risks of COVID-19 may be foremost on many parents’ minds, Operation Lifesaver is reminding them to also make sure that children know how to be rail-safe.

“A new school year often means a new school, and if it’s in an area close to railway tracks, kids need to know how to stay safe,” explains Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada. “Whether your child is starting first grade or finishing high school, they need to know the rail safety basics. Understanding railway warning signs and signals, and being aware of how dangerous trespassing on railway property and tracks can be, could save their lives.”

Practice makes perfect when it comes to rail safety

This year, Ontario Active School Travel has put together a Back-to-School campaign to make the return to school a safe and healthy one. The organization is recommending that parents practise the route to school before school starts, or before children do the walk alone. They’re also encouraging families to be more active by choosing to walk rather than drive to school. And for families that live too far to walk, they’re suggesting that parents park a block away and walk the last stretch to school.

Let’s make the return to school a happy, healthy and active one. Ensure the children in your life know how to stay safe by also teaching them these important rail safety rules:

  • Obey all railway signs and signals
  • Don’t use tracks as a shortcut
  • Only cross tracks at designated railway crossings
  • Stay off cell phones when around tracks
  • Keep one ear out when wearing headphones at rail stations or near crossings so that you can hear approaching trains
  • Always stop, listen and look in both directions before crossing railway tracks
  • Never play on or near railway tracks or trains
  • Never throw things at trains or place things on railway tracks

For other resources to help you and your loved ones stay rail-safe this school year, check out OL’s website.