The bus can be a convenient way to make sure your child gets to school on time every single day. Many kids also like riding the bus because it gives them a chance to hang out with their friends before the school day starts!
However, that doesn’t mean riding the bus is always safe. There are a lot of things about riding the bus that can be dangerous, but you can reduce those dangers by teaching your child these safety tips.
Know the Safety Laws Where You Live
It’s important to know the safety laws where you live. For example, there has been a 16-percent increase in school bus-related accidents in Florida between 2012 and 2015, which has prompted bus drivers to be trained not to assume children will look before crossing the street. Drivers are instructed to drive well below the speed limit while passing children, and they are instructed to be prepared to stop immediately.
When you know the laws where you live, you can share those laws and regulations with your children. For example, they should know that vehicles aren’t supposed to pass a school bus and that when the stop sign is extended, it means they can approach the bus.
Teach Your Child What to Do While Waiting for the Bus
The majority of the dangers related to school buses have to do with what happens while your child is outside the bus. A few rules for the bus stop can go a long way towards making sure your child is safe. They include:
- Teaching your child to stand three giant steps away from the curb.
- Teaching your child to wait until the school bus comes to a complete stop before getting on.
- Instructing your child to look both ways when crossing the street.
- Telling your child to cross in front of the bus if they have to cross the street after getting off.
If your child is new to riding the bus, consider waiting with them at the bus stop for the first few days or weeks. That way, you can remind your child of the rules until they become a habit and they remember them on their own.
Make Sure They Have Something to Do on the Bus
It’s easy for kids to get restless on the bus. That can be dangerous. If they are loud or they decide to misbehave on the bus, they can distract the driver and create an accident. Make sure your child has something to do on the bus so they aren’t tempted to become a distraction.
Teaching your child bus games can be a fun way for them to pass the time on the bus with their friends, especially if they have a long commute.
A book is always a good way to pass the time, but electronic devices can be helpful too. Just make sure your child brings headphones!
Tell Them to Keep Their Belongings Near
Kids have a tendency to spread out, and before you know it, their belongings are everywhere. On the bus, that can be dangerous.
Dealing with bullies can cause a lot of stress, so teaching your child to prevent a possible bullying incident can help. Tell them to keep their belongings in their lap or under their seat so bullies aren’t tempted to grab their bag and see what’s inside.
Keeping the aisles clear is also a safety concern. Backpacks can pose a tripping hazard as kids are getting on and off the bus, and they can become projectiles if the driver has to slam on the brakes.
Encourage Them to Report Bad Behavior on the Bus
There are plenty of ways the bus driver can affect the behavior on the bus, but that doesn’t mean the driver is going to catch everything. It is common for the bus driver to miss a lot of bullying behavior on the bus as they try to focus on the road.
Although your child may be tempted to keep their mouth shut because they don’t want to be a tattle tell, it’s important to teach your child to speak up. If they see something bad happen on the bus, they should tell the bus driver, their teacher, the principal, or a parent.
It can be scary to let your child ride the school bus all by themselves, but it can also empower them. It provides them with a sense of independence, and with these tips, they can learn to take control of their own safety too.