School Bus Safety for All Ages

group of teen scholars sitting at school bus with driver inside and showing various gestures at camera

That big yellow bus is coming around the corner this month! It may be your child’s first time taking the bus or they could be an old hand, having taken the bus for years. Either way, Alzein Pediatrics knows that your first concern is your child’s safety as they get on the bus, during the ride and while getting off the bus.

26 million children ride a bus every day during the school year, creating a multitude of chances for accidents. In fact, there are around 60,000 bus accidents per year and most of these just cause property damage issues. However, between 8,000 to 16,000 bus crash injuries occur each year.

With up to 90 kids on a school bus, drivers cannot closely monitor children while also paying attention to traffic. It’s important that you establish rules with your children about proper bus behavior so their driver can stay focused on the road, how to safely enter and exit the bus and how to interact with schoolmates. No matter how old or experienced your bus rider is, it’s a healthy idea to review these points as school begins.

General Bus Safety

  • At the bus stop, your child needs to maintain a safe distance from the street before the bus comes to a stop in the morning and, after school, after they have exited and the bus pulls away from the curb.
  • Your child should be able to see the driver’s eyes at all time when walking in front of the bus if necessary. Walking or standing in the driver’s blind spot puts your child at serious risk of severe harm if the bus should begin moving.
  • Children should remain seated while the bus is in motion to prevent injuries from falls and distractions for the driver.
  • Your child should wear their seat belt (if available) snugly whenever they are on the bus.
  • All students should adhere to their school’s code of conduct while on the bus, promoting a calm and safe environment.

Safety for Preschool and Kindergarten Children:

Preschool and kindergarten children require special attention due to their limited understanding of traffic and danger.

  • Parents or caregivers should accompany younger children to the bus stop and ensure they are safely seated on the bus. These adults should also meet children at the bus stop at the end of the day to make sure the child gets off the bus at the proper location.
  • Younger children should have identification tags with their names, addresses, and contact information inside their back packs or bags.
  • If possible, ask the driver to assign seats up front for the littlest riders, enabling the driver to keep a watchful eye on them.
  • If the location of the bus stop requires children to cross a road, a responsible adult or a crossing guard should assist.

Safety for Elementary School Children:

Elementary school children have some awareness of traffic rules and road safety. However, safety measures are still necessary.

  • Reinforce the importance of looking both ways before crossing any street and practicing caution around traffic.
  • Urge your school to present a lesson about school bus safety protocols as soon as school begins.
  • Encourage elementary school children to have a designated bus buddy to foster a sense of responsibility and provide mutual support.
  • Elementary school children should be taught emergency evacuation procedures in case of an accident or unexpected situations.

Safety for Middle and High School Children:

Middle school and high school children display increased independence and cognitive abilities, but they may also become more prone to risky behavior.

  • Ensure that middle school and high children are aware of the locations of all emergency exits on the bus and how to use these exits during a crisis.
  • Encourage children to report any bullying, unsafe behavior, or concerns to you, the bus driver or school authorities.
  • Emphasize the importance of responsible behavior on the bus, including avoiding behavior that distracts the driver, such as shouting, standing or walking while the bus is in motion. Explain to your child that they must follow bus rules and respect their driver.
  • Discuss the potential consequences of reckless actions on the bus, such as disciplinary action or accidents.
  • Encourage your child to use seat belts when available.

A happy bus ride to and from school helps make the whole day a positive experience. Adhering to school bus safety guidelines ensures the comfort well-being of children during their daily commute.

If you or your child have questions about school bus safety, send your Alzein Pediatrics healthcare provider a message through your portal. We are always happy to help.


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