Discussing bus safety for kids with your children should be a top priority before every school year and after every holiday break.
While school buses account for 25% of all traveled miles by students, they only account for less than 4% of injuries. Part of this low percentage is safety education and high safety standards for buses.
Despite this low rate of injury, you can help reduce this number even more by educating your child. This helps your child and the bus driver have a safer trip to and from school.
Warn About Other Traffic
By law, drivers are supposed to stop for school buses when they’re picking up and dropping off students. Some drivers ignore the flashing lights and stop sign. Talk to your kids about the importance of watching the surrounding traffic when approaching and leaving a stopped bus. Tell them to look both ways before crossing the road, if their home is across the street.
Show your child the bus danger zone, which is a blind spot in which the driver can’t see them. Advise your kid to stay at least 10 ft. away from the front or back to stay out of this blindspot. This also makes it easier for your child to see traffic surrounding the bus.
Tell your child to allow the bus driver to help them monitor traffic. Explain the importance of walking in front of the bus so the driver can see them. The driver can then signal to them when the road is safe to cross.
Appropriate Bus Behavior
School buses are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles. In fact, out of the 134 average yearly school-related fatalities, only 8% of those occur in buses. From 2004 to 2013, only 106 people, children and adults combined, were killed in bus accidents.
One way your kids can stay safer is by teaching them how to behavior properly. Go over the following with your child to ensure they don’t distract the driver or get hurt unnecessarily while riding:
- Always use the handrail while boarding and exiting
- Keep straps, drawstrings and other hanging items contained to avoid catching on seats, rails or doors
- Stay seated at all times while the bus is in motion
- Talk quietly and avoid yelling
- Do not rough house
- Never throw objects while the bus is moving or stopped
- Keep the aisle clear of backpacks and other items
Tell your child if they need to get the bus driver’s attention, they should pass a message from student to student so the student at the front can calmly get the driver’s notice. Tell your child not to stand and approach the driver until the bus comes to a complete stop.
Waiting At The Bus Stop
Bus safety for kids doesn’t end with riding the bus. You should also teach your kids about proper behavior and safety while waiting at the bus stop. Walk with your child to the bus stop to show them where it is and exactly what area they’re allowed to walk around in. Advise them to keep their belongings close to them and far away from the edge of the road.
Tell your child to always wait until the bus has stopped completely and the stop arm is out before boarding. Ensure your child is at the bus stop at least five minutes early to avoid a child running into the road, chasing after the bus.
When your child’s exits the bus in the afternoon, tell them to exit the bus calmly and use the handrail. Tell them to watch traffic carefully and to go straight home or their babysitter/daycare center when leaving the bus. If they drop something while exiting, tell them to walk in front of the bus where the driver can see them and signal that they’ve dropped something. This tells the driver to wait, keeping traffic stopped for the child.
Your child is safer on a school bus than an average car, but accidents still happen. Part of those accidents occur as a result of other drivers not following the law, children distracting the driver and incorrect boarding and exiting behavior. Teach your child about bus safety for kids and help your child be a little safer.
Need help teaching your child about staying safer at home and school? Let Safety Education Alliance’s educational materials guide you through your conversations.
*image courtesy of woodleywonderworks