If your child takes the bus to school it is vital to have safety rules in place. Talk to both your child and your child’s school about their established rules to keep your child safe in and around traffic and also while traveling.
Bus and traffic safety rules for your child
- Don’t use headphones or a phone around traffic. You need to be alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Wait for the bus in a safe place away from traffic.
- Stay away from strangers, let your teacher and school bus driver know if someone tries to pick you up from the bus stop.
- When getting on and off the bus use the handrail.
- Keep your hands, arms and head inside the bus at all times.
- When exiting the bus beware of oncoming traffic.
- Look in both directions of traffic before crossing the road.
- When getting off the bus walk at least 10 big steps in front of the bus, along the side of the road and look at the driver for a signal before crossing in front of the bus. Take a look at the diagram below for clarification.
- Walk – NEVER run – to where you need to go.
- Remember if you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you!
- Try to keep 3 metres away from the front, back and side of the bus at all times.
- If you drop something wait until the vehicle stops before you get up from your seat to pick it up.
Safety questions to ask your child’s school principal and school bus driver
- What training and procedures does the school have in place to prevent accidents?
- Has the bus driver successfully completed an advanced driver training course?
- Is there a member of staff that can assist children entering and exiting the vehicle and with traffic?
- Is there a teacher that manages the students on the bus, or is that done by the driver?
- Does the school have an enforced policy of no mobile phone use while the bus driver is operating the vehicle?
- All staff that are involved with the care of children must be police checked to ensure they have no prior convictions that may put a student in danger. Does the school have a child protection policy that ensures all employees (including drivers) are police checked? A child should never be left alone (one on one) with any member of staff as per the schools Child Protection Policy.
Mobile phone use and driving
Operating a vehicle while using a mobile phone is dangerous. Make sure the bus driving company and your child’s school has a No Mobile Phone Policy while driving to ensure your child isn’t traveling to school by a distracted driver. Studies from The United Kingdom Department of Transport tell us:
- You are four times more likely to crash if you use a mobile phone while driving
- Reaction times for drivers using a phone are around 50% slower than normal driving
- Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash
Driving a group of children to school is stressful enough, lets not add to that stress by asking a bus driver to carry and answer a mobile phone while driving.
Do you have any stories to share about taking the bus to school?
Maree has over five years of experience in Occupational Health and Safety and in the development of safety standards, training workshops and improvement initiatives. She is passionate about health, safety and education. Maree, a mother of two children, has a Advanced Diploma in OHS and will be graduating soon with a B.Sc. (HSE) from Australia.