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School bus safety: Keeping kids safe

This is a good time of year to talk to children about school bus safety. Helping children understand how buses are set up and what to do if a driver is not acting safely can help you keep them safer.

Every year, children hop onto the school bus to get to their classes safely. Unfortunately, some drivers speed, drive recklessly or simply make mistakes that put these students' lives at risk. As a parent, one thing you should do is talk to your child about taking care of themselves on the bus and taking actions to avoid an injury if they are involved in a crash.

What should children know about riding a bus safely?

Regardless of how a driver is currently driving the bus, your child has a responsibility to do a few things to stay safe. These include:

  • Staying in their seat
  • Avoiding using any sharp or pointy objects while the bus is in motion, and putting away items like pencils or scissors in a bag or plastic case.
  • Staying buckled in, if the bus has seat belts
  • Avoiding sitting with too many students, since most seats are designed for only two

Taking these few smalls steps will help your child benefit from compartmentalization, which is how the bus's design keeps them in place if a crash does happen. Since the majority of buses don't have seat belts, they rely on the seats, which are close together, to prevent ejections in a collision.

What should your child do if they witness dangerous driving behavior?

If your child sees the bus driver speeding or driving recklessly, it's important for them to stay seated but to try to get help. Older children on the bus may have cellphones that they can call 911 from. Your child shouldn't be afraid to call the police or emergency services if the driver is driving erratically. Doing so could help the police pull the driver over. Things like medical emergencies, intoxication and impairment can make a driver lose control, but quick thinking on the part of the children on the bus could help prevent a crash.

If your child has already come home and told you about the dangerous bus driver, you can report your concerns to the school, so that the administration can look into the driver's situation. If your child was injured on the bus, then you may want to discuss obtaining compensation.

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