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Editorial: Help kids get back to school safely

Back to school. Back to the routine.

Back to the unpredictable, too — at least until things settle down.

Young children's reactions often deny predictability or explanation. That's especially true when children get excited. Plenty of children are excited about heading to school, whether they're seeing friends again after the long summer, meeting a new teacher or entering elementary school for the first time.

They dart into the road. They cut across the parking lot. Hop out of the car before it comes to a complete stop. They run around a corner and "disappear."

Young people also often react in an unpredictable manner when they're distracted. Whether they're in elementary, middle and high school, they may be preoccupied about the fresh start, concerned about changing schools, worried by the uncertainty and unfamiliarity of the new school year.

That puts the onus on adults to be alert. Watch out for children, in the school zone and out. Be alert for teen drivers thrilled and nervous about providing their own transportation. Expect the unexpected. Slow down. You cannot control students' actions and reactions, but you can control your own.

Remember that you were young, excited, distracted and even unpredictable once, too.