Driving can be risky for drivers and passengers, but it can also be dangerous to others, especially pedestrians. And when it comes to kids, one of the biggest threats they face when taking the school bus is usually not from the bus but other cars. Here are five school bus safety guidelines for kids to follow to avoid injury or worse.
1. Be aware of cars
Students walk to board a school bus in Manhattan’s East Village on January 15, 2013, in New York City | Mario Tama/Getty Images
Riding a school bus is relatively safe, and school bus crashes are rare and aren’t usually fatal, Erie Insurance reports. However, kids usually need to walk to a bus stop, and that’s where the main danger lies. That’s because the morning hours are usually busy, and a lot of people are driving their cars through neighborhoods.
If a kid has to walk to their bus stop, they might have to cross an intersection, and some children might be tempted to wander off the sidewalk. School bus safety includes staying on the sidewalk at all times and crossing the road at crosswalks (if there is one) and only if no cars are approaching. If a vehicle is stopped at the intersection, children should try to make eye contact with the driver to confirm the individual sees them.
2. Keep your distance
When kids are at the bus stop, they shouldn’t let their guard down. Another part of school bus safety is keeping your distance from the curb.
A good rule of thumb is to be at least “three giant steps” away from the curb, according to Erie Insurance. That also means kids should avoid playing in the street, even if things seem quiet. Cars can be fast, and kids and drivers might not react quickly enough.
3. Arrive early
Arriving early at their bus stop means kids won’t miss their ride, but it also prevents them from rushing. If your child has to rush, they could make mistakes, putting themselves in dangerous situations. Getting to the bus stop five minutes early is generally a good rule of thumb.
4. Board safely
Boarding safely is another school bus safety guideline to teach kids because it ensures they get on and off the bus in an orderly and calm fashion. Sometimes, kids get excited when the bus approaches and don’t wait for the vehicle to come to a complete stop. Children should always wait for the bus to stop and the doors to open before approaching and boarding.
5. Find your seat quickly
Once on the school bus, your child should find a seat quickly but safely and remain in that seat. That way, other children have time and space to get seated before the bus begins moving. It also ensures your child will be seated before the bus takes off.