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9 tips for school bus safety

School bus illustration on a red background.

Make sure your child knows the rules.

Aug. 25, 2019—All aboard! School buses are the safest way for students to get to school—as long as kids follow a few basic rules.

Whether your child is a first-time rider or not, the start of the school year is a great time to brush up on these bus safety basics from the National Safety Council and Safe Kids Worldwide.

Waiting at the stop

  • Stay put. While waiting for the bus, don't wander into the street or onto private property. And try not to roughhouse or play in a way that could make someone fall into the street.
  • Be patient. Stay back from the curb until the bus has stopped and the doors are open. Then board one person at a time, and use the handrail.

Along the way

  • Sit tight. If seat belts are available, use them. And stay in your seat. Keep your head, arms and hands inside the windows—and to yourself.
  • Manage your stuff. Bags, instrument cases, lunch sacks, sports equipment and books should all be stowed under the seat in front of you or in your lap. It's important to keep the aisle clear.
  • Keep food packed away. Food on the bus can cause problems for kids with allergies. It can also lead to problems with bugs or pests. Find out what your school's rules are, and follow them.
  • Use your indoor voice. Loud noises can distract the driver.

Off you go

  • Get it together. Gather all your things before the bus reaches your stop. Stay seated, but be ready to get off the bus once it stops.
  • Play it safe. When you exit the bus, use the handrail. If you drop something, tell the driver and wait for the all-clear to retrieve it.
  • Cross with care. If you have to cross the street, first walk 10 feet (that's about five giant steps) in front of the bus. That way, the driver can see you. Then wait to cross until the driver signals to you that it's safe. Be sure to look both ways before you cross. And never go behind the bus.

Should you walk your kids to the stop and meet them there after school? That's a judgment call. It can vary based on your child's age and skills or where you live, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. But it's a good idea for kids new to the bus, especially for the first week or so of school.

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