Police and road safety experts are urging drivers to keep an eye out for children as schools begin to reopen.

The speed limit is 20km/h when passing school buses dropping off or picking up children, and there is a permanent 4km/h speed threshold around schools, which means anyone exceeding the speed limit by more than 4km/h near a school is liable to be booked.

Wairarapa Road Safety Council manager Bruce Pauling said drivers should "switch on" and be vigilant around schools and school routes as most schools reopen for 2016 next Monday.

"Children will be excited about the start of the new term and it's up to drivers to be extra careful near our most vulnerable road users. Reduce your speeds around school zones and drive to the conditions. There will be greatly increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic in these areas, as opposed to the last six to seven weeks," he said.


"Try to park away from school gates as this only increases congestion and is a safety hazard. If possible, use this time to walk with your kids to school even for a few blocks, and pass on valuable safety advice around checking for cars exiting driveways, the safest ways to cross roads, and only crossing busy roads at designated school crossings. This not only embeds safe walking and scootering practices, but is great exercise and a fun way to start their day."

Rural areas also have a lot of school buses arriving and leaving school at the same time, so it was important parents did not clog up areas around school gates, Mr Pauling said.

"Parents of young children travelling by bus should go through the expected behaviour with kids if they travel on a school bus such as: good quiet behaviour and listening to the bus driver and bus monitor, school bags on their knees or under the seat, high-viz gear especially in bad weather and winter, know the safe 'kerb drill', and if possible parents should park on the same side of the road as where the bus stops so children don't have to cross high-speed roads."

Police community services manager Inspector Paula Holt said drivers need to be extra vigilant around schools, and keep in mind children are highly unpredictable so they can be easily distracted and not paying attention to their surroundings.

"We need to do everything we can to safeguard our kids as they walk or cycle to school -- some of them for the first time," said Ms Holt. "Slow down in and near school zones, and take care when passing school buses.

"If you are walking your children to school, show them the safest place to cross roads, reminding them to look left and right and look out for cars."

It was important to allow plenty of time for school drop-offs, to prevent last minute rushing.

"Remember you are setting an example to the younger generation of how to be safe and smart on our roads."