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School Bus Safety

Watch Out!

If your caregiver drops off your child at school, make sure she has a copy of the school traffic rules and abides by them.

Most children injured by school buses aren't riding inside them during a crash. They're outside the bus in the blind spots around it, where they are hidden from the driver's view; kids don't realize that the driver can't seem them.

Sometimes a child in the roadway is hit by a passing car whose driver fails to stop for the school bus, as required by law.

Kids should be taught school bus safety rules. For example, they should stay away from the wheels and the back of the school bus. If they cross in front of the bus after deboarding, they should move to at least 10 feet in front of the bus and wait for a signal from the driver that it's safe to cross.

When he waits for the school bus, your child should stand on the same side of the street as the bus stop, and back up several steps from the edge of the roadway. Explain the safety rule to him: he should stay back until the bus comes to a complete stop and the door opens. If there are several kids at his stop, they should board single file and use the handrail to avoid falls.

Don't Get Caught

In 1995, following strangulation deaths associated with drawstrings in clothing, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) developed guidelines with manufacturers to eliminate these strings from outerwear. One cause of several deaths was drawstrings snagging on the handrails of school buses and causing children to be dragged or to fall under the wheels. Makers now use snaps, Velcro, buttons, and elastic instead of drawstrings, but scarves, backpack straps, and other items also can get caught. Explain to your child why he needs to be careful that his belongings don't dangle when he exits the bus.

Watch Out!

Caution your child that if she drops something near the bus, she shouldn't stoop to get it but should move away and wait until the bus has passed. Or she should get the driver's attention and permission before picking it up. If she leaves her backpack on the bus, she shouldn't run after it. Assure her that it's better to lose something than be hurt. (And most likely her pack will be waiting for her on the bus or in lost and found the next day.)

Don't Play Around

It's hard for drivers to keep their attention on the road when kids are goofing around on the bus. Schools and parents need to work together to establish and enforce bus behavior rules including these:

  • Don't stand up in the bus while it's moving.
  • Keep the aisles clear.
  • Don't toss things around in the bus.
  • Keep the noise down so the driver isn't distracted.
  • Don't stick hands or arms out the window.
  • While waiting at the stop, don't run around or shove each other.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Child Safety © 2000 by Miriam Bacher Settle, Ph.D., and Susan Crites Price. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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