When the big yellow bus swings around the corner and nears the corner bus stop, it can be an exciting moment for both kids and parents.
Every year, school buses carry 25 million children to and from school across the country, according to the American School Bus Council. School buses also boast an impressive safety record: Crashes involving school buses amount to less than one percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In fact, the NHTSA says that the biggest risk to student safety isn’t riding the bus, but the act of getting on and off the bus.
As the school year ramps up, it’s a good time to do a quick review of bus safety tips with your children.
Safety Guidelines for Boarding the Bus
Be aware of cars. Morning is a busy time of day in the neighborhood, with heavy traffic heading to work or school. Teach kids to stay on the sidewalk and never cross an intersection until the car is stopped, no other cars are approaching and they make eye contact with the driver.
Keep your distance. While waiting for the bus, kids should stay at least three giant steps back from the curb. Because of the bus stop’s proximity to the street, discourage kids from horseplay and running games too close to the street.
Arrive early. When young kids are running late, they can quickly forget the safety rules and run right into the street without looking for cars. Get kids into the habit of being at the stop five minutes before the bus’s scheduled arrival. In fact, during the first week of school, it doesn’t hurt to give them a bigger cushion of time because schedules can vary until the driver gets the route down.
Board safely. Everyone loves to grab their favorite seat. But it’s more important to board the bus safely. The safest way to do this is to stay back on the curb and not approach the bus until it comes to a complete halt and the door swings open.
Find a seat quickly. It is important to quickly take a seat and stay seated. This practice helps ensure everyone has the time to get situated and no one is standing when the bus begins to move.
There is no better start the school year than a safe one.
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It’s the perfect time to remind ourselves to plan ahead for the ones we love.