Any scenario that includes sending your child out on their own is nerve-wracking. When they’re taking the bus to school for the first time, it’s both a huge step and a point of anxiety for both you and them. One way to curb that anxiety for you both is to have a talk about how your child can stay safe and responsible on the ride to and from school.
Despite school buses arguably being the safest mode of transportation for students, a child actively being unsafe or reckless when it comes to being on or around a bus can result in serious injuries. Here are a few talking points to get you started on your conversation about bus safety with your child—and a couple reminders for you, too!
- Walk them to the bus stop. Your best shot at ensuring your kids are safely at the stop—and easing those parental nerves—is just to walk them out yourself. Go to the bus stop with your child(ren) and wait with them until the bus arrives. Encourage them to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb when the bus is approaching and to board the bus one at a time.
- Reinforce waiting. Teach your kids to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting off and to never walk behind the bus where they can’t be seen.
- Teach them to safely cross. If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, he or she should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver, and cross when the driver indicates it’s safe for them to do so. Teach kids to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street to ensure no additional traffic is (illegally) attempting to pass the bus.
- Remind them to use handrails. Particularly with younger kids, it can be crucial to drop reminders about using handrails when boarding or exiting a school bus. Kids should also be careful of straps or drawstrings on their bags that could get caught in the bus door. If your child drops something, they should tell the bus driver and make sure the bus driver is able to see them before they pick it up to ensure the driver doesn’t pull away when the child can potentially be injured.
As a driver, it’s important that you be mindful around school buses, too. Here are a couple bonus reminders for you while you’re sharing the road with school buses again this school year.
- Always slow down in school zones. You should always follow the speed limit when you’re driving—that’s just the law. However, you should pay extra attention when passing through a school zone and when you’re near bus stops. Stay alert and look for kids who are trying to get to the bus or who are trying to exit the bus to head home.
- Stop for buses flashing yellow or red lights. Slow down to a complete stop if you’re driving near or behind a school bus that’s flashing its yellow or red stoplights. This indicates the bus is preparing to stop (yellow) or has already stopped (red) and children are boarding or exiting. It is illegal to pass a slowing or stopped school bus and you are potentially endangering students if you disregard these rules.
Make sure your child understands how to stay their safest on the bus this year and in the future, and do your best to stay safe on the road with school buses, too! If you get into a car accident and want to make a claim, contact Boughter Sinak, LLC, today and get a free consultation.
Source: School Bus Safety