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Teach kids how to be safe while getting on, off, and riding buses

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2014 | Car Accidents |

(3rd in a series)

Like they say: It’s a jungle out there.

Not one populated with lions and tigers and bears, like in “The Wizard of Oz.” For kids, in one situation in particular – getting to school safely on a bus – the danger is other vehicles.

Children need survival skills.

It’s incredible that people don’t use more caution when they encounter these large vehicles painted yellow-orange (a color officially called “National School Bus Chrome Yellow).

But many drivers don’t. So kids have to take up the slack. Parents have to teach them how. My next two posts comprise tips for parents to pass along to kids.

Image / Egerton Law

Kids get on and off buses at all kinds of intersections and in all kinds of situations. They need to know the rules of how as stay safe on the streets.


  • Always walk at least 10 feet (the height of a basketball goal) in front of the bus when crossing so that the school bus driver can see you.
  • Never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop.
  • Never cross the street behind the school bus.
  • If you realized you have dropped something outside of the bus, don’t go back for it. The driver may not see you and begin moving the bus.
  • Always arrive at the bus stop early (five minutes is often recommended), so you won’t have to run across the road to catch the bus.
  • If you are late, be alert. Many children arriving late for the school bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
  • Before getting on, wait until the bus has come to a complete stop, the door opens and the bus driver says that it’s OK to board.
  • Wait until all traffic around the bus has stopped before stepping out onto the road.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk when preparing to cross the street near a bus.
  • If you are walking beside the bus, walk at least three giant steps away.
  • Walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left side of the road facing traffic.
  • Stay at a safe distance from the curb on the sidewalk area.
  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic. Line up at least five giant steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the bus.
  • While at the bus stop, wait in a safe place away from the road. Do not play games in the street. Don’t play running games like tag at the bus stop.
  • When the bus approaches a stop with several kids, get in line. Line up parallel to the street away from the curb.
  • Stand clear of the bus until it has come to a complete stop. Do not push or shove while waiting. Let smaller children board first.
  • If you miss the bus, go straight home. Remember, your bus driver has a schedule to keep and if you are not at the bus stop, he or she cannot wait for you.
  • Watch for red flashing lights and the stop sign to be extended. If you have to cross the street, look left, right, and left again before crossing.


  • Go directly to a seat. Remain seated and facing forward for the entire ride.
  • Talk quietly so the driver will not be distracted.
  • If you need to talk to the bus driver: wait for the bus to stop, raise your hand, and call the driver’s name.
  • Never throw things on the bus or out the windows.
  • Keep the aisles clear at all times.
  • If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions.
  • Never push when getting on or off of the school bus.
  • When the school bus is moving, always stay in your seat.
  • Never put your head, arms or hands out of the window.
  • If your school bus crosses railroad tracks, be calm and quiet so that your driver can listen for a train.
  • Always obey your school bus driver’s instructions, so that he or she can make safe decisions.
  • Backpacks, band instruments, or sports equipment should not block the aisle or emergency exits
  • Do not change seats. Stay in the first seat selected.
  • The emergency door and exit controls shall be used by students ONLY during supervised drills or actual emergencies. Never play with the emergency exits.

Next: Getting off the bus and tips in general.