Across the United States, roughly 53% of grade school students ride school buses. An increasing number of students are being forced to ride school buses longer distances, due to zoning changes or construction. For these reasons, we wanted to offer some school bus safety tips that parents and children alike can use. If you have any specific school bus safety questions, you should contact your child’s school directly.
School Bus Safety Rules
As a parent, it can be hard to watch your child get on the school bus – especially if your child is just starting kindergarten. If your child is older, you may be reminded that he or she is growing up. These are precious years. Regardless of your child’s age, there tends to be a feeling of relief as they safely arrive home after that first day of school. These school bus rules can help students arrive home safely every time.
Getting Ready for School
- Suggest that your children wear bright or contrasting colors, so they are seen easily by people on the road as they walk to the school bus stop.
- Make sure your children arrive to the bus stop early. If they are late for the bus, they may run, which is dangerous.
- While getting ready for school, have your children pack up their backpack the night before. This helps them get to the bus stop a little early in the morning, and they will not be dropping their school supplies along the way.
- Go over some of the school bus safety rules with your child in advance, if possible.
Walking to the Bus Stop
- If your child is young, walk your child to the bus stop every day. Wait with your child, so you know he or she safely got on the school bus. If your child is older, make sure that your child walks to the bus stop in a group.
- Teach your child to never talk to strangers while walking to the bus stop or waiting for the school bus. If there is a strange person lingering around a school bus stop area, children should all remain in a group and either alert the school bus driver, a trusted neighbor, or any of their parents.
- Teach your child safe pedestrian behavior. Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is a point where you must walk in the street, children should walk single-file on the left side of the street and stay close to the edge of the road.
- In addition to looking both ways before crossing the street, teach your child to look both ways before crossing a driveway or alley.
- While waiting for the school bus, make sure that your child is at least 10 feet away from the road. Teach your child that this safe distance is roughly 5 giant steps from the road.
- Never allow your child to “horseplay” while waiting for the school bus, involving running, jumping, shoving, or pushing.
Riding the School Bus
- Teach children to go directly to their assigned seats once they are on the school bus.
- Teach children to remain silent near railroad tracks, so the school bus driver can listen for trains.
- Children should never play with the emergency exits.
- Children should always stay seated, talking quietly and being respectful to the school bus driver. They should keep their hands to themselves at all times. The bus driver will need to focus.
- While riding the school bus, children should always follow the school bus driver’s safety rules. Isles should be kept clear of backpacks and other items, so that children do not trip.
Entering or Exiting the Bus
- The youngest children should get on the bus first and off the bus last.
- If your child drops something while getting on or off the bus, your child should never simply pick it up. Your child should first alert the school bus driver, so the driver does not start or stop the bus while your child is bending over. After alerting the school bus driver, your child can follow the safety instructions that the bus driver has in place to retrieve the object that he or she dropped.
- Teach children to make sure all items are secure, including drawstrings or other loose objects, before getting on or off the bus. Loose items can get caught on the bus railing or in the bus doors. Dangling items may also cause the child to trip on the school bus stairs.
- Make sure your child uses the handrail while entering or exiting the school bus.
- When your child exits the bus, he or she should always look to the right before getting off the bus. This ensures that no vehicles are attempting to pass the school bus in an unsafe manner.
- If your child will be getting on or off the bus at any location other than his or her assigned bus stop, be sure to give your child a written note to give to the bus driver.
- If you wait at the bus stop after school to meet your child, be sure to wait on the same side of the street where your child will be dropped off.
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