Back to School Safety

Everyday parents rely on school buses to get their children back and forth to school safely.  Last year approximately 26 students were killed and another 9,000 were injured in incidents involving school buses, according to the National Safety Council.  Even so, school bus transportation is safe.  Most of these incidents did not occur in a crash, but as students were entering and exiting the bus.  The National Safety Council offers these safety tips:

Riding the School Bus    

  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and avoid roughhousing that can lead to carelessness.
  • Line up away from the street as the school bus arrives.
  • Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before stepping onto the road.
  • Use the hand rail when stepping onto the bus.
  • Be aware of traffic around you.  Drivers are required to stop for a school bus when it is stopped to load or
  • unload passengers, children should not rely on them to do so.

Behavior on the Bus

  • Find a seat and sit down.  Loud talking or other noise can distract the bus driver and is not allowed.
  • Never put head, arms or hands out of the window.
  • Keep aisles clear of books, bags or tripping hazards.
  • Before you get to your stop, have your books and belongings together and ready to go.
  • At your stop, wait for the bus to stop completely before getting up from your seat.  Then, walk to the front door and exit watching for traffic.

Getting off the School Bus

  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk at least 10 feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road, until you can turn around and see the driver.
  • Make sure the driver can see you.  Then wait for a signal from the driver before beginning to cross, being careful to watch for other traffic.
  • Do not cross the centerline of the road until the driver has signaled that it is safe to begin walking.
  • Stay away from the bus’ rear wheels at all times.

Crossing the Street

  • Always stop at the curb and look left, then right and left again before crossing.
  • They should continue looking in this way until they are safely across the street.
  • If a student cannot see past a vehicle or other obstacle, they need to move where drivers can see them and they can see other vehicles.

Walking and Biking to School

  • Kids are not small adults.  They see, hear, think and act differently in traffic than adults.
  • Children cannot accurately judge the speed or distance of oncoming cars.
  • Children under the age of ten should cross the street with an adult.
  • Children should always walk on the sidewalk.  If no sidewalks, they should walk on the side of the street facing traffic.
  • Children should not walk to and from school alone.  Walk with a buddy, especially in the fall and winter when there is less daylight.
  • Teach kids to recognize crossing signals.  Remind them to keep going even if the light starts blinking “don’t walk” while they are still in the street.
  • Children should wear helmets when riding bikes to school. Helmets prevent 88 percent of serious brain injuries; 69 percent of head injuries; and 65 percent of facial injuries.
  • If parents are driving kids to school, make sure they are properly seated and belted in at all times.  Call Taylor Police or check out www.nsc.org for more on buckling up.

Crime Prevention for Children

  • Kids should walk and play with friends—not alone.  Tell them to avoid dangerous places like vacant buildings, alleys, new construction sites, wooded areas, etc.
  • Tell your child never to accept rides or gifts from someone they don’t know.
  • Show your kids safe places they can go in your neighborhood in an emergency, like a trusted neighbor’s house.
  • Have them take the safest routes to and from school, stores, and friend’s homes.
  • Teach children to walk confidently and to be alert to what’s going on around them.
  • Tell your kids to avoid strangers around playgrounds, restrooms, empty buildings, etc.
  • Teach children to always take the same way home from school.
  • Children should not walk next to curbs and should not play alone on playgrounds.
  • Do not let them wear expensive jewelry or clothing to school.
  • Teach kids to settle arguments with words—not by fighting.
  • Kids should check in with a parent or trusted neighbor as soon as they get home from school or let someone know if they’re staying late at school.
  • Parents need to listen to children’s fears and feelings about people or places that scare them or make them   
  • uncomfortable.
  • Teach your child to tell a school official immediately if they see another student with a gun, knife or other weapon or making a violent threat.

Source:  American Crime Prevention Institute