15:12 PM

Get Safely to School Whether Walking or Riding the Bus

Summer is almost gone and most area children will be back in school before the end of the month. Whether your kids walk to school or take a school bus, there are some things you should keep in mind – and review with your children – to ensure their safety.

Walking to school

Walking to school is a great way for kids to get exercise. But parents should always teach their children pedestrian safety.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests:

  • Cross where drivers expect you: Make sure kids cross the street only at crosswalks or intersections, never mid-block.

  • Help drivers see you: If it's dark, have children wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight.

  • Walk on the safest surface: Teach children to walk on the sidewalk, or if there is no sidewalk, walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic.

  • Avoid distracted walking: Never allow children to use cellphones or tablets while walking.

  • Little ones need help: Take extra precautions with small children, who may not be able to judge speed and distance and don't know traffic rules.

Taking the bus

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles, school buses are considered the safest form of ground transportation because of their size and construction, and because they are driven by professional drivers with a genuine concern for the safety of children.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) offers some safety tips you should review with your children before they travel by school bus:

  • Arrive on time: Get to the bus stop early to you won’t have to risk running across the road to catch the bus.

  • Wait in safe spot: Stay away from traffic while awaiting the bus, at least five big steps from the curb or roadway.

  • Discuss transportation options: Never run after the bus once it has left the bus stop. Prepare transportation options in advance.

  • Be patient: Never push getting on or off the bus.

  • Help all drivers see you: Always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing so the bus driver and vehicle drivers can see you. Never cross the street behind the bus.

  • Stop before you go: Wait until all traffic has stopped before stepping out on the road.

  • Stay seated: Stay in your seat while the bus is moving. Never put your head, arms or hands out of the window.

  • Shhhh please: Talk quietly as to not distract the bus driver.

  • Wait it out: If you leave something on the bus or drop something outside of the bus, never go back for it. The driver may not see you and begin moving the bus. If it is safe after the bus departs, pick up a dropped item. If something was left on the bus, wait until the next school day to ask the driver about it.

PennDOT provides a school bus activity booklet for elementary school students.