Driving

Children walking or biking to school help reduce traffic congestion – give them a brake and use extra caution. How you behave behind the wheel also influences how your children will handle cars when they are learning to drive.

Driver Safety Tips

  • Observe the 25 mph speed limit in school zones at all times.
  • Obey “No Right Turn on Red” signs where posted at school intersections. This allows children to cross safely without cars turning through the crosswalk.
  • Be aware of school commute routes. Young children may not be able to judge speed or distance of vehicles moving toward them, and they think cars can stop instantly.
  • Try to carpool whenever possible to help reduce the congestion around schools.  If you are unable to carpool, consider parking a few blocks away and walking with your child to campus. (If they are old enough, you can drop them off at this location.) This reduces congestion in the school zone and improves safety for everyone.  Walking with your child the few blocks to school gives them practice on how to cross streets safely under your guidance.
  • Don’t rush – leave home a few minutes earlier instead.

Set a good safety example:

  • Follow instructions of crossing guards.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Don’t double park in bike lanes, and don’t block red curbs.
  • Avoid making U-turns and other unsafe maneuvers.
  • Always make sure that you and your passengers are buckled up properly.
  • Use car seats and booster seats in accordance with state law.

Car Seats

Current California Law:

  • Children under 2 years of age shall ride in a rear-facing car seat unless the child weighs 40 or more pounds OR is 40 or more inches tall. The child shall be secured in a manner that complies with the height and weight limits specified by the manufacturer of the car seat. (California Vehicle Code Section 27360.)
  • ​Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
  • Children who are 8 years of age OR have reached 4’9” in height may be secured by a booster seat, but at a minimum must be secured by a safety belt. (California Vehicle Code Section 27363.)

Four Key Safety Points:

  • Restrain your child on every trip, every time.
  • Keep your child in the back seat.
  • Use the best safety restraint for your child’s size.
  • Use the child safety seats and belts correctly.

Additional Car Seat Information:

Car seat installation videos Choosing and installing a child’s car seat or booster seat can be confusing. These videos from Partners for Child Passenger Safety and the information contained on this site will help you choose the right child restraint system and install it correctly.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has wonderful information about how to select car seats, fit them properly, and other useful car safety information.

Staying safe in the car or bus Riding in cars or school buses comes with some responsibility: You need to ride safely. Luckily, it’s not hard to do. Read this site and you’ll learn the rules of car and bus safety.

What About the Front Passenger Seat?

Children should not ride in the front passenger seat until they are over 12 years old unless the air-bag can be disabled.

The force of a deployed airbag can injure or kill a young child even in a slow-speed crash. Children ages 12 years and younger, including infants, should never be placed in a seat in front of an airbag. Riding in the back eliminates children’s risk of such injury.