Roughly 26 kids die every year in school bus accidents as the result of being hurt while getting off the bus or in their role as passengers. While this number is relatively low, when it comes to your child, just one is too many.
School buses carry approximately 24 million students over 4 billion miles per year. Though many adults are beginning to lobby for the installation of seat belts on school buses, overall, statistics show that your child is safer on a school bus, with or without safety belts, than in a car. Until all school buses are equipped with bus passenger safety belts, here are the things you can do to help ensure your child’s safety in and around area school buses and bus stops.
Tips for School Bus Passenger Safety
Your child’s behavior at the bus stop is an important part of school bus safety. Make sure your child is aware of and adheres to these pre-boarding safety rules:
When waiting for their bus, kids should be advised to stay out of the street.
At bus stops, have your child line up approximately ten feet from the curb.
Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the driver acknowledges the children before boarding. Since the driver is the only one who can view all traffic on the road, it is best to wait until he or she says it’s safe to come aboard.
If your child must cross the street to board the bus, instruct him or her to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop and for the driver to flash the red lights and extend the STOP sign. Children should then look both ways before crossing to board the bus.
If walking in front of the bus, children should make eye contact with the driver and take five giant steps (approximately equal to 10 feet) in front of the bus before completely crossing.
ON-BOARD AND EXIT SAFETY
Encourage your child to use proper bus passenger behavior, respect the driver’s authority, and don’t do things that could distract the driver. Instruct your child to:
Stay in the seat – refrain from standing while the bus is in motion.
Keep the noise down.
Keep head, hands, and feet inside the bus.
Refrain from throwing things in or outside of the bus.
Keep the bus and its aisles clean of debris and spills.
Cooperate with the driver, listening and adhering to his or her instructions.
Refrain from rushing, roughhousing or pushing when boarding and exiting the bus.
Don’t chase or try and stop a bus.
Never try to retrieve anything from underneath the bus.
Steer clear of the ‘Danger Zone’ (the 10 feet of blind spot surrounding the bus) unless boarding or exiting.
With the proper safety precautions and instruction in place, you can minimize your child’s risk and reduce risk for others riding the school bus.