Beginning in early August and all the way through much of September, schools throughout the country begin welcoming students back from their summer hiatus. Whether you are a parent, child, school administrator, driver, or a concerned citizen, the following tips will help keep our nation’s students safe.
1. Bus Stop. Your child’s bus stop should be in an area that is well lit, easily accessible, and away from traffic. If it is not, contact school administrators to have the stop moved. In some situations you may need to contact the school board instead. If you live in an area where there is heavy snowfall, make sure that the stop is sufficiently free of snow, ice, and related debris.
2. Clothing. Children should be wearing bright colored clothing, especially if waiting for the bus before sunrise or getting home after dark. Place removable reflective tape on their outer garments including on their hats and coats.
3. Boarding. Teach your children to only move forward to board the school bus when it has come to a complete stop and the driver opens the door. Children should line up single file as they await entrance.
4. Seating. Virtually all school buses DO NOT come equipped with seatbelts, nor are seats strong enough to resist impact in the event of a crash. Teach your children to be seated at all times and facing forward. Study various brace positions to prepare for the possibility of an accident. Learn optional exit strategies including using the emergency door or windows.
5. Exiting. When exiting the bus, children must move far away from the vehicle to allow the driver to see that they have cleared the bus and are safely away from traffic. Instruct your children to stay away from the bus’ rear wheels at all times.
6. Awareness. Teach your children to be aware of other traffic in the area. Do not assume that drivers will stop for them or even see them. If children must cross the street, they are to do so only with the driver directing them. Have them constantly looking both ways as they cross the street until they are safely on the other side.
Every year children die or are injured in school bus related accidents. Many die as a result of a collision involving their bus with another vehicle while others are killed or hurt as they fail to clear the area around the bus or are hit by oncoming traffic.
You can keep your child safe by raising their awareness of potential hazards while the rest of us can make school bus safety a priority by obeying the rules of the road. Let’s make this school year a safe one.