It's back-to-school time, and for many kids that means back on the bus. Experts say the school bus is by far the safest way for kids to get to school. Between 1994 and 2004, there were only 71 bus passenger deaths, according to WebMD. During the same period, traffic accidents involving cars and light trucks racked up almost 32,000 deaths.
But that doesn't mean the bus is risk-free. Here are nine safety tips from the New York Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.
Look Three Ways
Your child knows to look both ways before crossing the street, but three ways? Turns out the best advice is to look left, right and then left again just to be double safe.
Make sure your child knows the new rules.
Take Big Steps Off the Bus
When children get off the bus, they should take five giant steps out the bus door and out of the bus's danger zone. Make sure to warn your child.
Don't Run Between Parked Cars
It's hard to tell if a parked car is about to move - and that goes double for young children. Make sure the kids take it easy in the parking lot or anywhere else cars are parked.
Never Bend Down Near the Bus
If your child drops something or has to tie his/her shoe, it's tempting to drop down and take care of business. But that could be a dangerous move if the bus is nearby. Bus drivers sit high up and may be unable to see a child who is crouched down.
And make sure your child knows it's an absolute no-no to go under the bus to grab something.
Never Go Back for Something Left on the Bus
If you forget something, your first instinct is to go back and get it. But that could be a bad move where kids and school buses are concerned. The driver may already have his/her eyes on the road and may not be looking for a child who is darting toward the bus.
Make Eye Contact with the Driver
Does your child need to cross the street after getting off the bus? Make sure he/she knows to make eye contact with the bus driver after getting off the bus. The driver should give the go-ahead signal when the coast is clear.
Don't Run Across Street to Catch Friends
Every kid is excited to see friends, but make sure that excitement doesn't turn dangerous. Tell your child not to run across the street or across a parking lot to catch up with buddies. Another minute or two of waiting isn't going to hurt anyone.
Look to Back of Bus for Oncoming Cars
Drivers aren't supposed to pass a stopped school bus, but that doesn't mean they always follow the rules. One way to see oncoming cars is to look out the rear window of the bus before getting off. Let your child know that's the way to go.
Watch Out for Backpacks, Sweatshirts
Almost every kid has a backpack, and lots of kids love to wear comfy sweatshirts. Turns out, both can have drawstrings or cords that can easily get caught in the bus door or railing.If your kids are packing packs, tell them to pay attention when getting off the bus.