With all of us getting ready to send our kids back to school, our thoughts naturally go to school bus safety. Whether you have a child in high school or a kindergartener who is riding the bus for the first time, there are things that every parent and student needs to know to optimize school bus safety.

 

Oddly enough, the trip to the bus itself and getting on and off the bus are the parts of the journey that pose the most danger. With more than 23 million children riding a big yellow school bus each day, it is crucial to reinforce not only school bus safety habits, but the safety habits with respect to roads and crossing the street. The following are some tips to pass on to your kids:

 

  • Show up earlier than the scheduled arrival time.
  • If possible, find a friend, sibling or a parent to walk with you to the bus stop
  • When you see the bus coming, stand at least six feet away from the curb
  • Wait until the bus stops, the doors open, and the driver tells you that it’s safe to board the bus.
  • And of course, always look both ways for oncoming vehicles before crossing any streets
 

In terms of your child’s school bus safety behavior, the instructions are simple: Find a seat, sit in it, and keep your hands to yourself. While the bus is in motion, always stay seated to avoid falling and injuring yourself or others. If there is bullying or rough-housing going on, advise your child to report it to you so you can speak to the bus driver or school administration.

 

Exiting the bus is perhaps the most important lesson in school bus safety.

 

  • When exiting, use the handrails to avoid falls
  • Make sure that clothing and backpacks don’t get caught on anything
  • Never walk behind the bus
  • Wait until the bus’s red lights are flashing before crossing the street
 

Your child needs to know that the person in charge on the bus is the driver, or in some situations, the driver’s aid or assistant. If all of the children on the bus follow these rules for back to school bus safety, all students can arrive safely.

 

For more information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, see a list of tips for driver and riders.

 

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