Millions of children ride the bus to school every day. To keep these children safe and encourage public education about school bus safety, the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) created National School Bus Safety Week.
This year’s theme is “Bully Free Zone” which encourages participants to speak out against bullying in addition to learning about traditional school bus safety.
From October 17th through the 21st, schools, students, parents, and bus drivers can get involved and learn more about school bus safety. Since so many students ride to school on the bus, these kinds of safety programs are extremely important. Get a head start on this year’s activities by learning a bit more about general school bus safety, including a few safety tips for you and your family.
Riding the School Bus is the Safest Way to Get to School
While it might seem like school buses are not safe because of the lack of seatbelts, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that school buses are the safest way to travel to school.
Students who ride the bus are much less likely to be involved in a life-threatening accident than those who drive themselves, ride with a friend, or even those who get a ride to school from their parents.
School Bus Safety Tips
Even though school buses are the safest form of travel for children, accidents still happen. To ensure your children stay safe from the moment they leave your house to the time they come home, share these tips with them:
Stay Alert at Bus Stops
The most common way that children riding the bus are injured is that they are hit by the bus or another vehicle while walking or waiting on the side of the road. These types of accidents can be the result of inattention, by either the driver or the student.
Remind your children to avoid horseplay while waiting on the bus and stay aware of their surroundings, especially while the bus is approaching the stop.
Wait to Text Until You Are Seated
Today school children of all ages are constantly using their cell phones and other mobile devices. Whether surfing the internet, text messaging, or playing video games, when children are looking at the screen, they are not looking at their surroundings. This can be particularly dangerous if children enter or exit the bus while using their phone.
Remind your kids to wait until they are seated on the bus to use their cell phones.
Stay Quiet and Stay in Your Seat
Even though bus drivers have years of experience driving children, it is best to stay quiet and always stay in your seat. This allows the driver to concentrate and will also prevent any injuries that may occur if the bus stops suddenly.
Fight Bullying in Our Schools
School buses and schools should be a safe place for our children. This includes traffic safety as well as personal safety. When children are the victims of bullying in these places, they do not feel safe. Worse, they can become depressed or even sick if they do not know how to respond to a bully.
Bullying is more common than you might think. Luckily, since this year’s National School Bus Safety Week theme is “Bully Free Zone,” NAPT hopes that awareness for this serious issue will increase and that children will learn to band together and stand up against bullies.
Programs like this can also help potential bullies to see the errors of their ways. After learning the potentially serious consequences of their actions, these students may be inspired to use alternative forms of communication, especially when they are frustrated.
If you believe your child is the victim of bullying on the bus, consider discussing the issue with the bus driver or the principal of the school.
Remember, bus safety — both emotional and physical — takes place around buses, on buses, and even at bus stops. For more school bus safety tips, visit our blog.