School has started here in Atlanta. If you send your child off to school via bus, you have good reason to worry for their safety. One of the most hazardous times for your child is when he or she is waiting for, getting on or getting off the school bus. Too many horror stories exist about children suffering serious or fatal injuries while at a bus stop.

Yes, accidents involving school buses do happen, but a good portion of the incidents happen while waiting for, and getting on and off the school bus. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that your child is in the safest vehicle possible when riding in a school bus. It’s while outside the bus where the danger increases dramatically.

Precautions while waiting for the bus

After a summer of not seeing school buses on the streets, many motorists tend to forget that they need to exercise more caution during the times when children will board and leave their buses. School bus stops are not always available, and even when they are, children do not always remain near them. You can remind your young student of the following:

  • Your children should stay at least 10 feet off the road.
  • They should obey the crossing guard or other supervising adult.
  • They need to stay where the bus driver can see them.
  • Tell them not to play near the road.
  • Don’t let them bring toys to the bus stop that could roll into the street, such as balls.

If your child keeps these rules in mind, it could greatly increase his or her safety while waiting for the bus.

Precautions during loading and unloading

Waiting for the bus is only one hazard. The other two involve approaching and leaving the bus. Following the tips below could help keep your children safe:

  • If you are fortunate enough to be there when your children get home, wait on the side of the street where they will disembark. You can then safely guide them across the street, if necessary.
  • Make sure your child knows to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop. Not only does this prevent any incidents with the bus but also helps ensure that all other traffic stops as well.
  • Your children should keep at least 10 feet between them and the front of the bus.
  • Your children shouldn’t walk behind the bus.
  • They should stop at the edge of the front of the bus and look both ways before crossing the street. Sadly, not every motorist follows the law and stops for school buses.
  • If possible, your children should make eye contact with any drivers in the area, including the bus driver. This helps ensure they see your children.

Riding the school bus may be one of your children’s first tastes of independence. While you may take pride in giving them this freedom, they need to understand the dangers they face as well. A healthy fear of motor vehicles could end up saving your children’s lives.

Your children may do everything right

Sadly, accidents happen. Even when your children do what they are supposed to, motorists may not. If your child suffers injuries due to another motorist’s failure to exercise caution around the school bus, you may have the opportunity to pursue compensation through the filing of a personal injury claim.