It’s the beginning of a new term for your child, and they are super excited. You have the coats, the books, the lunch, and your child all outside the house before 7:30 am. An achievement any parent would be proud of.
There is one more thing that is worth making sure you have prepared your child for, and that’s the school bus. Whether this is their first time or not, here you will read 7 important tips to help your child keep safe. School bus safety should not be given a backseat.
1. Lead by Example
Lead by example may be a ‘classic’ statement but no one can argue with the fact that the parent’s attitude and actions have a profound effect on their children. If you take road safety seriously then most likely your children will.
Take a minute to ask yourself how you are helping your child keep safe. Do you know the road bus safety guidelines for children? Are you distracted by the phone whilst crossing the road on the way to the bus stop?
Traveling on the bus to school is one of the safest methods children get to school, but never get complacent about teaching them basic pedestrian safety rules.
2. Teach, Repeat and Listen
First, teach them how to stand at a safe distance from the road when waiting at the bus stop. Second, remind them to make sure the bus driver has seen them before making their way to the bus. Third, make sure they know they should never walk behind the bus but always in the view of the driver.
Get them to repeat what you have told them so that you can see if they have grasped exactly what you have taught them. Listen to your child carefully; giving them this time and attention will help them see how important bus safety is to you. It will also enable you to emphasize or repeat anything they didn’t get the first time around.
3. Before Getting on the Bus
Bus safety is not just about getting to school without a traffic accident. These days, parents have to be vigilant about all aspects of travel safety. Here are some things to think about before your child gets on the school bus.
Does your child have a cell phone so they can contact you if anything happens? Do they know which stop to get on and off the bus? Do they have a school friend they trust and who can look out for each other?
4. Know the Driver
No doubt the idea of bundling your child into a stranger’s car would horrify you. Yet, do you know who has the responsibility of driving your child to school every day? Your child takes about 360 bus journeys per school year with a stranger.
Do not hesitate to introduce yourself and your child to the school bus driver. You can observe how the bus driver approaches and leaves your bus stop. Check-in with your child from time to time to see if they feel comfortable on their bus journeys.
5. Everyone Needs Reminders
Things that we do every day can lull us all into complacency. To refresh one’s self on bus safety is a worthy endeavor. Each year 17,000 children are treated for bus-related injuries.
Don’t assume children will just remember what they are supposed to be doing to keep safe. Children are understandably distracted with school essays, deadlines, friends, and electronics. It’s a must to jog their memory from time to time about road safety.
6. How to Stay Safe on the Bus
Seatbelts, seatbelts, seatbelts! It’s too hot, too tight, or too uncool…you have probably heard all these excuses and more from your child on why they can’t possibly wear a seatbelt on the bus. Another reason you need to trust your bus driver.
The bus driver has a responsibility to enforce children are wearing seatbelts. Some buses have onboard technology, such as sensors and cameras so that seatbelts being worn can be better monitored.
7. WiFi and School Bus Safety
wifi on school buses may sound like a modern indulgence, but when it comes to safe travel it can be a real advantage. One reason is that buses with WiFi often track all journeys. It is observed that fewer incidents happen on the school bus when students can get on with studying using the WiFi.
Interesting Fact: Did you know that during COVID-19, school buses with WiFi were providing WiFi hotspots for children in communities with limited or no internet access? The bus would drive into the community and park. Children could then access the WiFi hotspot from as far away as 300 meters.
Practice Makes Perfect
In this article, we have reviewed some basic safety reminders, as well as some tips you may have never thought about to keep your child safe while using a school bus.
No one can guarantee the perfect ride, but we can guarantee that if you put into practice these 7 school bus safety tips, then you will be creating a safer environment for your child.
There is no time like the present, so if you have just came across this article today be sure to make it a priority to revisit the topic with your children as they head back to school. Don’t stop reading there, check out more informative articles in the education section of this website.