School has started and, if you’re like many parents, you grab your coffee and sleepwalk your way to the bus stop to see your child off for the majority of the day. You make it to the bus stop safely, you wait for the bus while your child performs morning chatter rituals with the other kids at the bus stop, you see the bus, you give hugs and watch your child board, and you think all is safe. You go home and start your own day, thinking about deadlines that loom ahead, meeting with clients, and what to make for dinner that evening. Then, you receive a call. There’s been an school bus accident involving the bus that was carrying your child. Now what?
School bus accidents are rare, but that doesn’t mean that they are immune to causing injury.. Because the buses carry many occupants, the volume of injuries or fatalities could be high. What are some of the reasons that school bus accidents occur, and what can you do to prepare and protect your child? Other than driving your child to school yourself, which may not prove to be injury free either, here are some rules to keep in mind:
- Make sure your child knows school bus etiquette: no standing on the bus, buckle seat belt if there are seatbelts on the bus, no throwing objects and no distracting the driver.
- Always pay attention to the driver, and listen to any commands they give to the occupants.
- As a parent, engage yourself with the driver on occasion to make sure that you sense that your child’s welfare is first and foremost in the mind of that driver.
School bus drivers have a lot on their minds. The more you can influence your child to engage safe bus travel practices, the better. Driver distractions are huge, and school bus drivers are no exceptions to the distractions of cell phones, texting, other traffic and traffic signals. Make sure your child is a model student, both in the classroom and on the bus—for their own safety and for your peace of mind.