This week was National School Bus Safety Week, which was created to help raise awareness about the importance of teaching children how to be safe around school buses. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 19 school-age children die in school transportation-related accidents ever year. Of those, 14 are pedestrian accidents. Countless more can suffer life-altering injuries. These statistics make National School Busy Safety Week a vital education program for parents, students, teachers, and school bus operators alike.
The week, put on by the National Association for Pupil Transportation, helps parties from all backgrounds join forces to address the necessity and importance of school bus safety. School Bus Safety Week is held during the third week in October every year and is recognized by thousands of school districts in more than 40 states across the country.
Tips to Remember for School Bus Safety
As your children head off to school—whether they ride the bus or not—make sure you remind them to make safety a priority around buses. As large vehicles, school bus can often limit the visibility drivers have. Teaching children early on to be extra cautious around buses can help save lives and prevent tragic accidents.
Review the following bus safety tips with your children:
- Safety at the bus stop: Help your child arrive at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive to ensure they remain visible and can find a safe spot to stand. Make sure you remind them to wait at least six feet away from the curb and aren’t tempted to run or play around the area.
- Getting on and off safely: Review with your child the importance of waiting for the bus to come to a complete stop before trying to board. Make sure they know to wait for the door to open and the bus driver to say it is ok before they are allowed to move forward. Also, remind them to use handrails for assistance with boarding.
- Using extra caution around the bus: Even if your child doesn’t ride the school bus on a regular basis, they will likely be around one when arriving at or leaving school. If your child has to cross the street in front of the bus (after getting off or when walking home), remind them to always stay on the sidewalk or along the side of the street. Leaving five giant steps or about 10 feet of distance should be adequate. Also, review with them how to make eye contact (or waving) with a bus driver when crossing to make sure they are seen. Lastly, if they drop an item around the bus, tell them to alert the driver before trying to pick it up to prevent any accidents.
Keeping your children safe around school buses can seem overwhelming at times, but reviewing these safety tips with your kids can go a long way in helping them stay aware and away from danger. The more you communicate with your children, the more they will remember the importance of school bus safety!