School Bus Safety Tips for Kids and Parents

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It’s the end of summer, and that can only mean one thing – school is almost back in session! We hope that you and your family had a fun summer vacation, and know that you’re probably excited for the school year to resume. Before the first day, though, make sure to refresh yourself (and your kids) about the rules of riding the bus to school, especially if they are transitioning to middle or high school and will be using a different bus.

Bus Stop Rules

  • When on the way to the bus stop, always walk. Running shouldn’t be an option – even if you’re running late.
  • Always arrive to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus. You should receive a pamphlet from your school to tell you when to expect the bus to pick and drop off kids at your designated stop on the first day of school.
  • Wait for the bus on the sidewalk – never on the road. In fact, the safest place to wait is five extra large steps away from the road.
  • While waiting on the bus, kids should be calm and quiet. Yelling and horseplay should be curbed immediately.
  • When the bus arrives, wait for it to reach a full stop, extend the “Stop” sign, and open its doors before moving from your waiting spot and boarding the bus. If you need to cross traffic to board the bus, make sure that all cars have stopped and that you look both ways before entering the roadway.

Entering and Exiting the Bus

  • Kids should only get on and off of the bus at their designated stop. If your child would like to get off the bus at an abnormal stop, most bus drivers will need to see a note of permission signed by their guardian.
  • When getting on and off the bus, kids should be carrying as little as possible in their hands. Books, lunch boxes, and loose items should be in their bag, and hands should be used on the handrails when climbing the stairs.
  • Children should be taught early never to loiter close to the bus. No one should ever stand within three steps of the bus for fear that they are in a blind spot, and the bus driver will move without seeing them.

On the Bus

  • The first rule of school bus safety is to always obey the bus driver. They will likely have their own set of rules, typically involving common sense objectives like getting to your seat quickly, observing a reasonable noise level, and keeping hands and objects inside the bus.
  • Small children should be taught never to use a writing instrument on the bus. They may want to color or do homework, but a sharp pencil or a pen can be dangerous when paired with a sharp stop. Encourage them to read or chat with their seat-mates instead.
  • Children should not talk to the driver while the bus is in motion. Tell them to always wait until the bus reaches its next stop to speak with the driver.

Even if you don’t have kids, there are some school bus safety rules of which you need to be aware. When you drive, be on the lookout for school busses. When you drive in neighborhoods and school zones, always be on the lookout for children. If you are on the road with a bus, obey the traffic laws related to busses, stopping to allow children to board or exit the bus, and cross the road safely.
Remember, you can count on Vargas and Vargas Insurance to provide you with top of the line Massachusetts auto insurance, but you should aim to never need to make a claim – especially a claim involving a child. That is why we implore you to use special care when driving this school year, and year round.

Photo credit: Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)