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Fall 2010
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Riding the Bus

Help your Child Get to and from School Safely

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For more than 1 million Texas students, the school day begins and ends with a trip on a school bus. While school buses are nearly eight times safer than passenger vehicles, children are most at risk when boarding or leaving the bus.

Safety Tips for Students

Here are some tips to share with your children to ensure they get to and from school safely:

  • Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
  • When the bus approaches, stand at least five giant steps (10 feet) away from the curb and line up away from the street.
  • Wait until the bus stops, the door opens and the driver says that it's okay before stepping onto the bus.
  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you and you can see the bus driver.
  • Use the handrails to avoid falls.
  • Sit down quickly.
  • Listen to your bus driver at all times.
  • Sit quietly in your seat and don't distract the driver.
  • Never put your head, arms or hands out of the window.
  • Keep isles clear. Books and bags are tripping hazards and can block the exit during an emergency.
  • Before you reach your stop, get ready to leave by picking up your books and other belongings.
  • When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps don't get caught in the handrails or doors.
  • Never walk behind the bus.
  • Walk at least five giant steps away from the side of the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.

Safety Tips for Emergencies

Be sure your children know what to do if an emergency occurs:

  • Don't panic. Follow the bus driver's instructions.
  • Try to remain quiet so that the bus driver can focus and you can hear instructions.
  • Be aware of where the emergency exits are located. Use the exit the bus driver directs you to use.
  • When exiting the bus, stay away from the street.
  • Stay in the same place with the other students who have exited the bus so the driver can keep track of everyone.

Safety Tips for Parents

Here are some additional tips to follow to ensure your kids get to and from school safely every day:

  • Supervise children to ensure they get to the stop on time, wait far away from the road and avoid rough play.
  • Make sure your child is dressed properly for the weather.
  • Don't let small children or pets follow your child to the bus stop.
  • Be sure your child's backpack is secured safely on his/her back.
  • If you think the bus stop is in a dangerous place, share your concerns with the school office or transportation director.

Texas School Bus Law

When you're in the car, be sure to drive safely around school buses. Texas law requires:

  • Drivers must stop for flashing red lights on a school bus, regardless of which direction you're headed.
  • You can continue your trip once the bus has moved, the lights stop flashing or the bus driver signals it's okay to pass.

Violations can lead to a $1,000 fine.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation

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Good Health for Kids is produced by Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas.