School carpools can be awesome ... on the days it's the other parents' turn to drive. I'm kidding ... mostly. I actually love having a minivan full of mini people talking about their day, their classmates, and all the other crazy things that come up during our rides.
It is, however, a big responsibility, and as cliche as it may be, safety really does need to come first in this case. It's hard enough to keep your own kids in line when driving to and from school, so it's important that everyone knows the rules ahead of time. Here are five important ones with which you may want to start.
1. Question other carpool members.
It may be a bit uncomfortable, but don't be afraid to inquire if a parent has a valid driver's license, current insurance, and a good driving record. Start by offering up yours to make it less awkward.
2. Make sure everyone has proper seats.
Even if they think they're big enough not to use a booster or don't in their parents' car, insist that they do in yours if they don't meet height and weight requirements to sit without one.
3. Everyone needs a seat belt ALL the time.
No sharing of seat belts, and after each stop, check to make sure that no one has unclicked theirs. Also make sure they wear them correctly and don't put the belts under their arms or behind them.
4. Don't be afraid to use the old, "I will pull this car over!"
Some fun and laughter is great, but let them know if things get too crazy and distracting, you will in fact pull over until you can drive safely.
5. Set rules for how children will enter and exit the car and get to their destination.
Just opening the doors and hopping out may not be safe. Make sure you know (and follow) the school procedures for pick-ups and drop-offs, and set your own for those at other stops.
What carpool safety tips would you add to this list?
Image via NKMphotos (scrapgeek)/Flickr