Even though your child’s school year may be coming to a close, there’s a good chance that he or she may ride a school bus on a class trip or during an activity for a summer program.
If your child won’t be riding a big yellow bus until the following school year, it’s never too late (or early) to talk about school bus safety, and it’s always a good idea to keep those reminders fresh.
Here are some of the top things to remember when talking to your child about safety on a school bus:
Follow The Same Rules As You Would in the Car
Remember the fun you had when you rode on a school bus, as a kid? Riding a school bus can be an exciting experience for children and often it results in them acting out or getting a little “wild” on the bus.
Kids are also more likely to act out if they see other kids being silly, too. As a parent, it’s hard to be the person to stop all the fun; your child needs to know what’s appropriate and what’s not. Remind your child that riding the bus is no different than riding in a car.
Some examples may include:
Always Wear a Seat Belt
Depending on what type of bus your child is riding on or what state you live in, there may be no option to wear a seat belt. Federal law requires seat belts on smaller buses, but only six states require the use of a seat belt on a full-size school bus.
Sit on the Seat and Face Forward
Your child would never kneel or stand on his or her seat in the car or ride while facing backward. Kids are tempting to kneel on bus seats and talk to the people that are sitting behind them. This is unsafe, particularly if the bus were to make a sudden stop.
Be a Respectful Passenger
While it’s natural for kids to talk a lot and want to listen to music in the car, it can be distracting to the driver. You can’t expect your child to be completely quiet while riding on a school bus with his or her friends, but it’s a good idea to encourage him or her to talk quietly. Stress the importance of being a respectful, distraction-free passenger.
Being Careful On and Around the Bus
Many school bus injuries occur when a passenger is entering, exiting, or walking near the bus. Remind your child that the aisle and steps of the bus can become slippery due to spilled water or drinks and that he or she should never run on the bus.
Pushing and horseplay also lead to injuries, so remind your children to keep their hands to themselves and never rush the person in front of them.
Here a few other things to discuss when walking in front of, exiting, or entering the school bus:
- Are your shoes tied? Loose shoelaces are a tripping hazard.
- Stay away from the back of the bus and stand away from the exhaust.
- Always make sure the bus driver sees you before crossing in front of the bus.
- Look both ways when crossing the street, even when the stop arm is out on the bus.