Bus Stop Safety Tips for Parents
Getting Ready for School
- Have your children put everything they carry in a backpack or school bag so that they won’t drop things along the way.
- Arrive at the bus stop five minutes early. Children arriving late for the bus may be tempted to run across the street, causing them to possibly trip and fall in front of the moving bus or another vehicle.
Walking to the Bus Stop
- Walk your young child to the bus stop and have older children walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see.
- Practice good pedestrian behavior: walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, stay out of the street.
- If you must walk in the street, walk single file, face traffic and stay as close to the edge of the road as you can.
- Stop and look left, right and then left again if you must cross the street. Do the same thing at driveways and alleys. Exaggerate your head turns and narrate your actions so your child knows you are looking left, right and left.
Waiting at the Bus Stop
- Don’t let your child play running games or push and shove at the bus stop. It is dangerous near traffic.
- Make sure your child stands at least 10 feet (5 giant steps) from the road while waiting for the bus. The child will then be out of the way of traffic. Have younger children practice taking 5 giant steps to become familiar with 10 feet.
- If your child's bus stop is on a corner of another person's property, teach your children to be courteous and never leave litter behind.
Getting On and Off the Bus
- ALWAYS cross in front of the bus, NEVER behind. Make sure that you are at least 10 feet (five giant steps) ahead of the bus before crossing. When crossing in front of the bus, you should be able to maintain eye contact with the driver.
- Remind children not to cross until the bus has come to a COMPLETE stop, the bus’ RED stop lights are activated, and the driver signals it is safe to cross. NOT all drivers stop for school bus lights, so always look to the right and left to make sure all traffic has come to a complete stop before stepping into the roadway. Finally, tell your children to cross in front of the bus at a distance where they can see the driver and the driver can see them.
- Warn children that if they drop something, they should NEVER pick it up. Instead, they should tell the driver and follow the driver’s instructions. If they bend over to pick up a dropped object, they might not be seen by the driver and could be hurt if the driver pulls away from the stop. Tell your children to NEVER CRAWL UNDER THE BUS!
- Give your child a note that must be signed by the school principal if you would like your child to get off at a stop other than the one they are assigned or to ride to another destination on another bus. The driver is not allowed to let a child off at another stop, nor is a child allowed to board another bus without written permission signed by the school principal.
- Make sure your child knows that when exiting the bus on the trip home that they look to the right before stepping off the bus. Impatient drivers may try to pass the bus on the right. Again, make sure to cross in front of the bus and maintain eye contact with the driver.
- If you meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children can be so excited at seeing you after school that they dash across the street and forget the safety rules.