A Reminder to Parents

As parents, you are an important part of a total safety program for children who travel by school bus. Children need to learn to be safe pedestrians as they walk to and from the bus as well as to be safe riders when they're on the bus. Here's how you can help:
School Bus Safety

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.

  • Have them wear bright, contrasting colors so that they will be more easily seen by drivers. Better still, attach a piece of high visibility florescent and retro reflective material to their clothing or backpack.

  • Make sure they leave home on time so that they walk to the bus stop and arrive before the bus is due. Running can be dangerous.

  • Go to the bus stop with a young child and have older children walk in groups. There's safety in numbers because groups are easier for drivers to see. Don't let pre-school children or pets go with your school child. They are dangerous near traffic.

Practice good pedestrian behavior along the way:

  • Walk on the sidewalk if there is one.

  • If there is no sidewalk, stay out of the street if at all possible.

  • 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 a street. Do the same thing at driveways and alleys. Exaggerate your head turns and "narrate" your actions so that 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 or shove at the bus stop. It's too dangerous near traffic.
  • Make sure you child stands at least 6 feet (3 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 3 giant steps to become familiar with what 6 feet means. And have older children estimate how far 6 feet are from various objects.

Getting On & Off the Bus

  • Make children stay at least 6 feet away from the bus until the driver says it's O.K. to enter. Children will then be able to see the driver and the driver can see them.  
  • If children must cross the street to the bus, remind them to wait for the driver to signal that it's safe to cross. They should cross the street 10 feet (5 giant steps) in front of the bus where they can see the driver and the driver can see them.
  • Warn children that, if they drop something near the bus, they should never ever pick it up. Instead, they should tell the bus driver and follow the driver's directions. If they bend over to pick up a dropped object, they might not be seen by the driver and could be hurt if they driver pulls away from the stop.
School Bus Safety
  • Remind children to look to the right before they step off of the bus. Drivers in a hurry sometimes try to sneak by buses on the right.
  • Teach your children to secure loose drawstrings and other objects that may get caught in the handrail or door of the bus as they are exiting.
  • Give your child a note or follow your school's procedures if you wish the child to get off at a stop other than the one to which he/she is assigned. The driver isn't allowed to let a child off the bus at another stop without written permission.
  • If you decide to 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 safety rules.

Riding the Bus

Remind your children to be good bus riders. They should:

  • Talk quietly.
  • Be courteous to the bus driver and follow the driver's directions.
  • Keep the aisles clear.
  • Stay seated for the entire bus ride.

We want your child to be safe when they travel to and from school. As you help us with the above rules, we hope you will see that school bus safety starts at home.

A message brought to you by:

U.S. Department of Transportation
National Safety Council