Tips for Staying Safe in the School Carpool Line

Keep kids safe (and other parents sane) by practicing good carpool etiquette.

Carpool line isn’t supposed to be torturous, but the waiting and constant stop/start of vehicles can make parents impatient or lose focus, which endangers themselves and others. So here are some tips for how you can stay safe as you pick up and drop off your kids from school.

Pay attention to signage.

Most schools post directional signs or have staff directing traffic so that cars know which direction the carpool line is supposed to flow. While it should go without saying, pay attention to and follow these signs! Schools carefully plan their carpool lines with both safety and efficiency in mind. So while you may think, “I’ll just slip out this way” or, “It won’t be a big a deal if I get out of line to circle around and park instead,” not following the rules endangers pedestrians and other cars alike.

carpool line

Know your child’s capabilities/exercise caution

Don’t simply stop wherever and let your child get out and go on their own. There are carpool monitors for a reason, so if it’s their job to do so, let them help with the door, leading your child in, etc. (We recommend saying your goodbyes and giving “last hugs” at home.) If your child is too small to undo their own seatbelt or get out on their own, don’t go through the carpool line. Park in an appropriate area, help your child unbuckle, and walk them in. By doing this, you’ll keep the carpool line safe and flowing in a smooth and efficient manner.

Keep the line flowing.

Speaking of keeping the line flowing… save visiting with teachers, giving them goodies, and even asking questions about school events or homework for meetings. Don’t try to socialize or clarify assignments in the carpool line! That is not the purpose of carpool, and it will only endanger and anger others if you use carpool for anything other than picking up and dropping off your kids. (The same goes for social media scrolling and texting! Put your phone away and pay attention while you’re in the carpool line!)

Every school has a slightly different system for their carpool, so be sure to read your school’s carpool instructions thoroughly and review them periodically with other guardians who will be in charge of picking up your children as well.