As the summer draws to a close and the new school years approaches, now’s the time for parents to sit down with their kids and have “the talk”.
No, not that one! We’re talking about school bus safety. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, an average of 19 kids die each year as a result of school bus related accidents.
To help reduce this terrible statistic, Susan Laurence, injury prevention coordinator, at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital believes such a talk will help ensure a safe, enjoyable start to the school year for everyone. According to Laurence, many injuries happen when children are boarding or exiting the bus. “A blind spot extends about ten feet in front of the bus, obstructing the driver’s view. Often times, children are not aware of this blind spot and might mistakenly believe that if they can see the bus, the bus driver can see them.”
Laurence offers the following suggestions to parents on how they can ensure their child is safe before, during and after their school bus ride.
- arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus arrives
- avoid horseplay while waiting for the bus
- do not go into the street while waiting for the bus
During the Bus Ride
- remove loose drawstrings or ties from the child’s jacket and sweatshirt because they can snag on bus handrails
- when boarding or leaving the bus, children should always walk in a single file line and use the handrail to avoid falls.
- while on the bus, the child needs to remain seated, forward facing at all times and keep the aisle clear of his feet and his backpack
- do not shout while on the bus or distract the driver unnecessarily
- keep head and arms inside the bus at all times
- wait for a signal from the bus driver before crossing the street
- look left, right, left before stepping into the street to make sure there are no cars passing the bus
- cross the street at least 10 feet (or 5 giant steps) in front of the bus
- wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before exiting
- exit from the front of the bus
- ask the bus driver for help if anything is dropped while entering or exiting the bus
- do not talk to strangers when walking to and from bus stop
Simple, sensible advice for all parents. Let’s make sure we keep the wheels on the bus this school year and prevent children from ending up under them.