According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, school buses are one of the safest forms of transportation. But there are still dangers, particularly when your child is entering and exiting the bus.It is important to remind your child about safety on the street and on the school bus. Elementary school children in particular are at high risk of being hit by a car when crossing the street because they:
- Cannot judge the speed or distance of moving vehicles
- Are easily distracted and can focus only on one thing at a time
- Cannot determine the direction of sounds
- Have a visual field that is one-third narrower than an adult’s
- Do not understand how much time and distance is necessary for a vehicle to stop
- Are hidden by parked cars and bushes
- Are more difficult to supervise, due to the growing number of preschool children riding school buses.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that each preschool child be properly secured in the appropriate safety seat depending on the child’s weight, height, or special needs.
The 10-foot area around a school bus is considered the Danger Zone because it is difficult for a bus driver to see in this area. The most dangerous sections in the Danger Zone are right in front of the bus and from the front of the rear wheels to the back of the bus.
Here are some guidelines to give your child planning to ride the school bus:
Waiting for the Bus
- Get to the bus stop at least five minutes early.
- Stay away from the curb.
- Pay attention as the bus approaches the bus stop.
- Let the bus come to a complete stop before boarding.
- Don’t push or crowd friends getting on or off the bus.
Riding the Bus
- Find a seat, sit down and face forward.
- Stay seated for your entire ride.
- Listen to the bus driver and follow their directions.
- Keep the aisles clear.
- Don’t stick anything out the windows -- especially your head or arm.
- Don’t throw anything in the bus or out of a bus window.
- Don’t scream or shout.
Exiting the Bus
- Be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps don’t get caught in the doors or handrails.
- Always cross the street in front of the bus while it is stopped. Never cross behind it.
- Keep away from the bus if you drop something. Never try to pick it up without telling the bus driver that you are going to get it.
- Do not go into the Danger Zone.
- Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
- In winter, dress for the weather in bright colored clothing so you are easily seen. Make sure you can see and hear traffic around you.
- In winter and on rainy days, give the bus more room. It needs more room to stop when the road is slippery.