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Start the Conversation on School Bus Safety


August 16, 2019

School has started or is about to start in area school systems. If you put your kids on the school bus, consider talking with them about safety to ensure they avoid injuries and use caution.

Nancy Pook, MD, medical director of the Network Operations Command Center at Kettering Health Network, advises children to stay away from the bus as it approaches.

“At the bus stop, children should wait on the sidewalk or at least three giant steps from the curb,” Dr. Pook says. “They should never walk or run beside a school bus to retrieve a dropped item.”

Remind your children that they should never approach the bus until it has stopped completely, and to use the handrails when entering and exiting the bus to keep their balance. If they must cross the street after exiting the bus, make sure they know to look both ways before crossing and to wait for a signal from the bus driver.

During the ride

Children may be tempted to roughhouse during the bus ride when not accompanied by a parent, so help them understand that behaving on the bus is important for their safety. Review these guidelines with them before the school year starts so they know how to act on the bus:

  • Stay in your seat during the bus ride. When you reach your destination, wait for the bus to stop completely before exiting.
  • Don’t distract the driver. He or she is responsible for getting you to school safely.
  • Do not put any body parts or other objects out the windows.
  • Some school buses have seat belts. Use them if they are provided.

Missing the bus

Come up with a plan for days when your child may miss the bus. If the child feels taking the bus is his or her only option to get to school, he or she might take unsafe risks such as running after a moving bus. Walk your child to the bus stop whenever possible. Be sure to tell your children not to speak to strangers at the bus stop and never to accept a ride from a stranger.

If you’re on the road

If you don’t have bus riders at home, do your part to ensure others’ safety by being a smart driver.

“Motorists should pay particular attention to heeding school-aged children on bikes and crosswalks, as well as at neighborhood bus stops,” says Dr. Pook.

The morning rush hour may have you scrambling to get to work, but patience is important, especially when driving through neighborhoods and school zones. Do not pass a stopped school bus from either direction when their red lights are flashing, and the stop sign on the side of the vehicle is extended.

Know where to go

When accidents do happen, know where to go for care. Visit our website to locate your nearest emergency center.