Back to School Summer vacations are coming to an end and students will start preparing for a new school year. It is important to make sure your children are up-to-date on their immunizations, are eating healthy and are safe traveling back and forth to school. According to the Federal Citizen Information Center, the top five reasons children miss school is because of colds, stomach flu, ear infection, pink eye and sore throat. The single most important thing a child can do to prevent illness is wash his or her hands thoroughly and frequently. School age-children gradually become less prone to common illnesses and recover more quickly. However, routine exams and screening will help to identify potential problems before they become serious health issues. School busses will be busy picking young children up, there could be increased pedestrian traffic, and school speed zones will be back in effect. The Federal Citizen Information Center points out that kids should never play in the street while waiting for the bus and should move immediately on the sidewalk and out of traffic. If you drive your child to school, make sure everyone wears a seatbelt at all times and children under 13 should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. Remember that many mishaps occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from school. You may want to limit the number of teen passengers to prevent driver distraction. CASE STUDY: A 24 year old SrA was operating her car on a public two lane highway. She failed to identify the bus as stopped (although all stop signals were activated/flashing) and rear ended the bus that was letting passengers off. Her estimated speed at the time of the mishap was between 55-60 miles per hour. BOTTOM LINE: The safety of our school children depends upon drivers slowing at designated school zones when children are present and stopping when a school bus is loading. It is a fact that most school bus fatalities occur when the bus is stopped and the child is NOT on the bus! In today's automobiles, external flashing lights have a hard time competing with the cocoon we create with cell phones, GPSs, text messages, and stereos.