"Is my child safe on the school bus?" That question is one that every parent has a right to ask. The answer, according to the Federal Department of Transportation, is an emphatic "yes." Statistically speaking, the school bus is one of the safest means of transportation - even safer than the family car.
Several factors combine to give school buses their reputation for safety. Chief among them are the extensive licensing and education credentials required of school bus drivers. Another is the fact that school buses themselves are sturdy vehicles.
AVCS bus drivers do their best to maintain order and ensure a safe trip. But they cannot do the job alone - it takes the cooperation of children, parents, and staff.
So what can parents do to make their children’s bus ride a safe experience?
• Make sure your child gets to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is supposed to arrive and dress them properly in the event of bad or inclement weather. Above all else, tell your children never to run after a missed school bus - doing so can be dangerous!
• If your child has to cross a street either before getting on or after getting off the bus, instruct him or her to wait for the driver to give the crossing signal.
• Talk to your child regarding staying a safe distance from the bus when waiting to board and when departing the bus. Students should stay back at least 15 feet from the road as the bus pulls up to their stop. If they need to cross the road to board and after departing the bus, cross at least 10 feet in front of the bus. Students should always cross in front of the bus and NEVER cross behind a bus.
• Stress safety over forgotten clothing or lost homework. Children should never reach for anything (i.e. a dropped homework paper, book, glove, etc.) that has fallen beneath the bus. Likewise, they should not attempt to go back on the bus for a forgotten item. Many children will do this because they are afraid they will be in trouble. Parents can help by assuring them that it’s more important to be safe.
• Keep safety in mind when choosing children’s clothing. Items with drawstrings or straps can get caught on handrails and door mechanisms as children enter or exit a bus. This is especially true during fall and winter, when children wear bulkier clothing.
• Remind children to obey the bus driver - stay seated when the bus is in motion, talk quietly, keep the aisles clear of books, arms and legs, and show respect to the driver and their fellow passengers.
Remember - a safe and enjoyable bus ride makes for a great start and end to any school day.