At Marasco & Nesselbush, we care deeply about our community and the safety of our children. As families across Rhode Island gear up for the start of the new school year, we’d like to pass on a few important reminders about school bus safety.
A Safe Mode of Transportation, but Not Without Risk
Bus transportation remains one of the safest ways for a child to commute to and from school; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that out of all deaths involving children on their way to or home from school, only eight percent of deaths involved school bus collisions. A far more common risk factor in school bus accidents involves drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians surrounding the bus when your child is getting on and off. As a result, it is important to teach your children about roadway dangers and instill safe school bus practices.
Tips for a Safe School Bus Experience
- Arrive at the bus stop early- Giving yourself plenty of time to get to the bus stop can help you to avoid having to rush to catch the bus, potentially disregarding your surroundings.
- Stay still and on the sidewalk while waiting- Waiting for the bus can seem like a long and boring experience for children, however, when waiting at the bus stop, make sure that your children don’t run around, roughhouse, or stray onto the road; the bus is not the only vehicle on the road, and other drivers may not be expecting to see a child.
- Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop- Your children should stay far away from the bus until it has fully stopped; they should not creep toward the bus as it gets closer. A bus is massive compared to a small child, and your child may not be visible to the driver if he or she darts out toward the bus while it is coming to a stop.
- Use the handrail when entering the bus- Your child is likely carrying a heavy backpack that can easily throw off his or her balance, and school bus stairs are steep. Using the handrail can keep your child from slipping and falling while boarding the bus or disembarking.
- Buckle up- If your child’s bus is equipped with seatbelts, he or she should have one on at all times.
- Stay put- Your child should stay in his or her seat at all times rather than move around from seat to seat or walk up and down the aisles, and should not lean out of the window or put his or her hands out of the window.
- Keep quiet- While talking is okay and expected, the school bus can become quite loud when dozens of schoolchildren on board. Refraining from yelling or otherwise being unnecessarily noisy can ensure that the bus driver remains attentive and free from distractions.
- Don’t get up until the bus has stopped- No matter how eager your child is to exit the bus, he or she should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop. Buses often do not make the most graceful stops, and your child could be thrown off balance if trying to get up when the bus stops.
- Make sure your driver sees you- Your child should stay far enough away from the edge of the bus that he or she remains in sight of the driver, and should never walk directly near the bus’s wheels.
- Wait for the all-clear from your driver to cross the road- When your child’s driver has given the go-ahead to cross, your child should still look both ways before crossing the street; while cars are supposed to stop when a bus is letting children off, they often don’t. Providence is full of congested roads and inattentive drivers, so it’s important to teach your children that they shouldn’t assume that cars will stop to let them cross the street.
Following these safety tips can help your child to be as safe as possible while on and around the bus. We at Marasco & Nesselbush wish you and your children a safe and happy school year.