Heat, School Zones Concerns As OKC Students Head Back To School

Monday, August 1st 2011, 9:03 am
By: News 9


OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City Public Schools, the state's largest school district, holds its first day of classes Monday.  It's the first day of the new, continuous calendar.

Students are returning to school in the middle of a record-breaking heat wave.  Doctors say parents should make sure their children are drinking plenty of liquids. Parents should also make sure kids are not hauling heavy loads in their backpacks.

Check out the American Red Cross's Heat Wave Safety Checklist

"With these extreme temperatures, your body is already having to work harder to cool itself down, so the more weight you are carrying, does put more toll on your body," Dr. Nate Claver with Integris Southwest said. 

7/31/11 Related Story: Keeping Cool As Thousands Of OKC Kids Head Back To School

OKCPS is also taking steps to make sure kids stay cool.  Most of the district's classrooms have air conditioning.  For those that don't, the schools may move children into cooler parts of the school if it becomes too warm.

The district has also trained its bus drivers to recognize signs of heat-related illness.

7/25/11 Related Story: OKC Public Schools To Keep Kids Safe From Heat When Classes Begin

With school back in session, police are urging drivers to obey the speed limit in school zones.  On the first day of school in 2010, Oklahoma City police wrote 21 tickets to speeders.  For the entire month of August, officers handed out 58 tickets.

7/25/11 Related Story: OKC Police Remind Drivers To Be Aware Of School Zones As School Starts

Obeying the speed limit isn't just about avoiding a costly ticket.  It's also about keeping kids safe.  The speed limit in most school zones in Oklahoma is 25 mph.  According to AAA, a child hit by a vehicle traveling 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed as compared to a child who is hit by a car going just 10 mph faster.

Drivers are also encouraged to avoid distractions, such as talking on cell phones and fiddling with the radio.  Research shows drivers who take their eyes off the road for just two seconds double their chances of crashing.