Summer is slowly winding down, the long days will give way to Autumn, and the children will be returning to school. Soon the roads will be filled with the bright yellow school buses. Whether your child is a first-timer or an old pro, safety on the school bus should be your first concern.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, recently announced school buses are 23 times safer than passenger cars and ten times safer than walking. Even with these statistics you want to make sure you take extra precautions to lower the risk of injury.
First Student President Dennis R Maple has said, there is an entire ecosystem of security around school buses. The safety includes traffic laws, road signs, weight, size and construction of the bus. Most importantly is the skill of the driver. Parents, drivers, and other motorists also play a crucial role in ensuring our children arrive at school safely every day. First Student believes everyone plays an important part in the safety of all the students on every school bus.
Scott Ertl, M.Ed. is a School Counselor and Author. He offered the following advice to discuss with your child.
- When the bus driver is speaking, stop talking and listen. It’s important to know what is going on at all times.
- Be Prepared for your stop. Don’t fall asleep. Keep awake and alert so you don’t miss your bus stop.
- Obey the Rules. Always show the bus driver respect and be courteous.
- Keep your backpack, lunchbox, and your feet out of the aisle. Your backpack/lunchbox should be under the seat.
- Hold the handrail when getting on/off the bus to help you with the steps. Whatever you do, don’t jump off the steps.
- Refrain from eating or drinking on the bus. Put any garbage in the trash can, not on the floor.
- Stay in your assigned seat. Face forward. Don’t move around, stand up or turn around at any time.
- Keep your hands and objects to yourself at all times. Don’t throw or put anything out the window.
- Don’t kick the back of the seat ahead of you.
- If you want to talk, speak in whispers to the person seated next to you. If you prefer, read silently to yourself.
- Introduce the bus driver to your child. A quick introduction will help your bus driver learn your son’s name and help your child recognize the driver on the bus line.
- Meghan Khaitan, the founder of MyBuckleMate and parenting expert, suggests waiting for the school bus a few feet from the curb. Six feet from the street is the recommended distance.
- Keep games and romping around for after you exit the bus.
- If you drop something, do not bend down and pick it up. Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before picking it up.
- For first time-time bus riders, ask the school, if there is an orientation. A bus ride around the route offers your child a chance to see where she will be going and what to expect.
- Review and reassure your child. Walk or drive to the bus stop and explain how the pickup and drop off routine will work. The more you practice and discuss the process with your child, the more confident she’ll feel.
Keeping our children safe on the school bus is one of the most important things we can do as a parent. Be aware, be alert and be safe.