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School bus safety

  • Written by By Katie Larson Woodinville Police Chief

School buses are the safest mode of motorized transportation for getting children to and from school, but injuries can occur if kids are not careful and aware when getting on and off the bus. Additionally, our kids need to practice strong personal safety habits when waiting at a bus stop.

Top safety tips
•    Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. Tell kids to stand at least five giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time.
•    Have older children walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see.
•    ALWAYS cross in front of the bus, NEVER behind. When crossing in front of the bus, you should be able to maintain eye contact with the driver.
•    Teach kids to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting off and on.
•    Walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left facing traffic.
•    Always go to the bus stop about five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. Children arriving late for the bus may be tempted to run across the street, causing them to possibly trip and fall in front of the moving bus or another vehicle.
•    While at the bus stop, wait in a safe place away from the road. Do not run and play while waiting.
•    NEVER speak to strangers at the bus stop and NEVER get into the car with a stranger. If something like this happens on the way to school, tell the bus driver right away and your parents when you get home. If it happens after school, always go straight home and tell your parents if a stranger tries to talk to you or pick you up. (Parents, call 911 right away to report this type of activity.)
•    Wait for the bus to arrive, watch for red flashing lights and the stop sign to be extended, and cross only when all traffic has stopped. Look left, right, and left again before crossing.
•    Parents, if you are waiting with your child in your car, never park where you could obstruct the bus.
•    Students should not wait in the car until the bus is coming! Students should be at the stop, ready to board the bus before it arrives.

Exit the bus
•    Make sure the driver can see you.
•    Wait for a signal from the driver before beginning to cross.
•    Keep an eye out for sudden traffic changes.
•    When getting off the bus make sure you walk (not run) three more steps away from the door. This is the best place to be around a bus. Stay away from the bus wheels and watch out for moving cars!
•    Only get on and off the bus at your designated stop.
•    If you leave something on the bus, never return to the bus to get it. The driver may not see you come back and they may begin moving the bus.
•    Also, if you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver before you attempt to pick it up, so they will know where you are.

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