School buses transport our most precious cargo back and forth to school 5 days a week. It is crucial that kids understand the safe way to travel. Check out these safety tips & rules for both kids and parents.
Over half of the nation’s kids according to the American School Bus Council (ASBC) use the bus as the means of getting to school. The bus may appear to be a scary ride, especially to small children, but according to the Transportation Research Board, students are 13 times safer on a school bus than any other mode of transportation.
Teens especially, are 44% more likely to be involved in fatal accident when driving themselves or riding with other teens. Encouraging children to ride the bus helps the environment by taking extra cars off the road and eliminating emissions. But riding the bus carries a responsibility from parents, driver, and child.
Parents and New Bus Riders
It is up to the parents to familiarize their child with the bus, individual stop, and home address. It might be beneficial with very young children, or if the child is living in a new neighborhood, to drive around and point out landmarks that make the child’s house apparent.
Many schools help with this by pinning address tags and or bus numbers to young and new riders. It does not take a child long to recognize the disembark spot. Bus drivers are also caution and usually remember a child’s individual stop.
Children Should be Taught How to Behave on a Bus
It is the child’s responsibility to know how to behave on a bus and do so accordingly. Parents can reinforce this by going over the School Bus Safety rules with their child. Many times these rules are given as a “sign by parents” sheet on the first day of school. With technology so prevalent in today’s schools, the school website will often be the best place to see this.
With first time riders, it is good for the parent to explain how safe the bus actually will be. The bus is higher than most cars and this keeps the students above car-impact height. The bus, due to the bright yellow color, is easily recognizable and helps motorist know to slow down and be alert. The large padded seats also help by “bubble wrapping” the students. A large percentage of school buses are now equipped with cameras for added protection.
Basic rules that apply to all school buses are:
- If the bus is on the move, stay seated.
- Report any issues to bus driver
- Keep talking to a minimum and use a low voice
- Never cross behind a bus, either in loading or unloading
- Always be alert to traffic when exiting
- Never put hands or your head out a bus window
- When exiting the bus it is important to walk a few feet away so that the driver can always see you.
These are just basic rules that each rider should follow for the school bus; there are some other tips that are very helpful and beneficial for parents. Parents should take turns keeping an eye on the bus stop. This gives children a sense of protections and allows parents to meet the other students.
It is also a good idea to try and meet the other parents. Provide your child with an index card the first day with name, address, and important numbers. It can be attached to your child’s coat or affixed to the student’s binder.
A Parent Should Make Friends With Their Child’s School Bus Driver
Bus drivers are usually professional people who care about children. Most drivers receive training to deal with issues like bullying, but like other adults cannot see everything, so it is crucial that parents inform drivers of issues that involve the bus.
Parents should realize that their child will quickly become familiar with the bus and will get in the habit of following the bus route. A bus offers opportunity for growth and independence. It is a rite of passage for most young people and usually an enjoyable and relaxing ride home.