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Safety Tips

Bus Safety Tips

If your child rides a school bus each day, there are several things that you can do to help him/her avoid danger. If he/she walks to the bus stop, your child should follow our ‘walking to school’ guidelines. The following list provides a set of recommendations for parents to ensure students’ safety on their way to and from school.

Bus Parent Responsibilities

Parents should review the following tips to make sure that their child has a safe bus ride to and from school every day.

  • Find out where your child’s pick-up and drop-off site is and have him/her arrive there approximately five minutes before the pickup time.
  • Inform your child’s school when he/she will not be on the bus.
  • Make sure your child has his/her schoolwork, backpack, etc., ready before the bus arrives.
  • If there are several children at the bus stop, consider creating a rotating system in which parents switch off waiting with the children in the morning.
  • Bus drivers are to drop children off only at their pick-up spot. Do not ask the bus driver to drop your child elsewhere.
  • While waiting at the bus stop, your child should stay at least six feet from the street curb.
  • Teach your child to not run alongside the bus while it is moving, and to never run after the bus if it leaves the stop without him/her.
  • Instruct your child to be very careful when getting on and off the school bus; to cross only in front of the bus; and to look left, right, and then left again for traffic when crossing the street.
  • Most accidents occur when the bus driver cannot see a child. Your child must stay out of the bus danger zone: six feet on both sides of the bus and 10 feet in front of the bus. Instruct your child to never walk behind a school bus and to never stop to pick up anything in the bus Danger Zone. He or she must wait until the bus has left before the item is picked up.
  • Children can be injured if their clothing gets caught on the bus handrail or in the door. Jacket or sweatshirt drawstrings, backpack straps, scarves, or other loose clothing can be especially dangerous. Make sure your child understands the importance of dressing safely.
  • Instruct your child to tell the bus driver, an administrator, counselor, or teacher if any student has a weapon or has been speaking/ behaving erratically on the bus.

Bus Student Responsibilities

Children should behave properly and in full accordance with the Shuttle Services Student Contract while riding the bus. For everyone’s safety, children are expected to obey the following rules:

  • Respect property at the bus stop.
  • Sit in the seat assigned by the driver or school staff.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Stay in your seat at all times and, to avoid falling, stand only after the bus has come to a complete stop.
  • Do not open windows without the driver’s permission. Windows must never be opened more than three inches.
  • Always listen to the directions of the driver, especially in emergency situations.
  • Do not talk to the driver unless absolutely necessary.
  • Always be quiet on the bus when it stops at railroad crossings.
  • Do not ask to be dropped off anywhere other than the regular bus stop.
  • Keep the aisles clear at all times and help keep the bus clean.
  • Never throw anything out of the bus window.
  • Always keep your head, hands, and arms inside the bus.
  • Do not touch the emergency doors or the fire extinguishers unless directed by the driver or staff member.


Bus Emergency Guidelines

In case of an emergency on the bus, your child should know what to do. The following are the most important general rules:

  • Stay calm.
  • Listen to the directions of the bus driver.
  • If told to get off the bus, leave quickly and safely.
  • Whenever possible, exit the bus from the front door.
  • Use the rear emergency door only when it is safer to do so.
  • Move at least 100 feet away from the bus to a safe location.
  • Stay with your group and do not cross the street unless directed to do so.
  • Check to see if the student assigned to sit next to you exited the bus. If he/she is missing, inform the bus driver.
  • If you are hurt, tell the bus driver, police, or paramedics as soon as possible.

Walking Safety

Parents should map out the safest route for their child to travel and walk that route with their child both to and from school, pointing out things to watch out for and showing him or her the correct way to cross each street. If your child is going anywhere other than home after school other than home, make sure he/she informs a family member. Get the name of the friend being visited and a phone number where he/she may be reached. If your school has a Parent Patrol, introduce your child to the Parent Patrol members.

General Safety Tips

In addition to outlining the safest route you should also share the following general information and warnings with your child, along with any specific facts about the route:

  • Never talk to strangers. Never accept rides from strangers. If someone you don’t know offers you a ride, run away from him/her. Run to where there are other people. When you get to school, tell your teacher or principal. When you get home, tell your parents.
  • If a stranger tries to grab you, fight against him/her and yell, “Help! This is not my mommy/daddy!”
  • Look for and obey all traffic signals. Cross the street only when it is safe to do so when cars are stopped.
  • Watch out for cars making right turns on a red light.
  • Always look both ways before crossing the street—look left, look right, and look left again—then proceed carefully.
  • Walk – don’t run across the street.
  • Always cross at the corner – at the intersection. Don’t cross in the middle of the block or walk in between parked cars.
  • Wear bright, reflective clothing, especially during the darker winter months.
  • Pay attention to traffic sights and sounds. Don’t wear headphones or talk on a cell phone on the way to school. Stay alert at all times while walking. Accidents happen most often when we are not paying attention.
  • Always walk in groups and know the safest route. Never take shortcuts.
  • Plan a walking route to school or the bus stop. Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and use intersections with crossing guards. Test the route. Stay away from parks, vacant lots/buildings, alley, fields, and other places where there aren’t many people around.
  • Memorize your home phone number and address, parent/guardians’ work numbers, the number of another trusted adult, and how to use 911 for emergencies. Have enough change to make a phone call or carry a telephone calling card.

Railroad Crossing Tips

When children are crossing railroad tracks, it is very important that the following safety guidelines be followed:

  • Cross tracks only at designated pedestrian or railroad crossings. Observe all warning signs and signals at railroad grade crossings or near railroad tracks.
  • Never walk around lowered gates or past flashing lights. It’s illegal and dangerous. If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, and it is a non-emergency, dial 311; they will connect you to the railroad. If there is danger to life or limb or if police are needed, dial 911.
  • Do not wear headphones when near railroad tracks and/or crossings.
  • Never try to race a train to the crossing.
  • Expect a train on the track at any time.
  • Always watch out for a second train when crossing multiple tracks.
  • Trains cannot stop quickly. It can take a mile or more to stop a train once the emergency brakes are applied. When the engineer can see you, it is already too late to be able to avoid a collision.
  • Do not walk on or play near railroad trestles or rails. There is only enough clearance on the tracks for a train to pass. Trestles are not meant to be sidewalks or pedestrian bridges.
  • Do not attempt to hop aboard railroad cars or equipment at any time.
  • Always be alert, but be extra alert at night or in bad weather.
  • Railroad tracks, trestles, train yards, and equipment are private property and trespassers are subject to arrest and fines.