Parents can breathe a bit easier knowing that when their child gets on the school bus, he or she is boarding the safest vehicle on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that students are approximately 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus rather than traveling by car. Not only are they extremely safe because they are massive, highly visible vehicles, it is also because they are equipped with numerous external safety features, including cross-view mirrors, stop-sign arms, and flashing red lights, as well as internal ones, such as high crush standards, protective seating, and rollover protection features.
While there are several school bus accidents that occur each year in which children are injured and even killed – usually side-impact crashes or high-speed rollovers – your child’s greatest risk is not riding a bus. Rather, the greatest risk exists when he or she is approaching a school bus or leaving one. NHTSA statistics show that school-age pedestrians have been killed more during times when they are waiting to board a school bus in the morning (from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.) and when they are being dropped off at home by a school bus after school (from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.) than any other times of day.
Fortunately, many agencies and organizations like the NHTSA and the National Safety Council are raising awareness for such paramount issues by providing the public with safety tips, statistics, and the state of affairs surrounding certain issues.
Safety Tips for Approaching and Exiting a School Bus
Of course, while a school bus is in motion, students should remain seated. Further, at all times, children should listen to the instructions of school bus drivers as well as crossing guards in the area. In order for your child to be safe when the school bus comes to pick them up in the morning and when the school bus drops them off at home in the afternoon, your child needs to know traffic safety rules and best practices. Have a conversation with your child about the school bus safety tips below and why abiding by these tips can be so important.
- Your child should be at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled arrival of the school bus.
- Six feet is how far away from the curb your child should be while waiting for the bus.
- There should not be any running or playing at the bus stop, so make sure your child is aware.
- Before approaching the bus as it pulls up, children should wait until the bus has come to a complete stop, the door has opened, and the bus driver tells them that they can enter.
- To avoid falling while boarding the school bus, your child should use the handrails.
- As with boarding, your child should use the handrail when they are exiting.
- Avoid walking directly behind the bus.
- If your child has to walk in front of the bus, tell him or her to walk on the side of the street or sidewalk until they are at least 10 feet or so ahead of the bus. Once 10 feet out, your child needs to make sure the bus driver can see him or her by waiting for a signal from the bus driver to cross.
- Make sure your child knows to stay away at all times from the rear wheels of the bus.
Safety experts recommend tips like these to prevent unnecessary injuries and fatalities from taking place. After bestowing your child with this information, he or she may take the initiative to inform his or her peers, which can lead to more and more children being safe at both the beginning and the end of the day.