For most school going children, the school day begins and ends with a bus/van ride. Being such a big part of their lives it is important to educate your kids on top safety rules when it comes to using the school bus.
Here is how you can lead the way for safer travel by sharing and following these simple tips with your children.
1. Know the driver
Make sure you know the driver for the school bus that makes your child’s route. Also be sure of the fact that he/she is licensed. Whenever you notice that there is a change in driver make sure to find out why. Also train your child to inform you whenever they notice irregular changes with the driver.
2. Teach them the song
There is a science behind song lyrics being more memorable than simple words. Something to do with the tunes. So you can come up with a simple song for your child on looking left, right then left again before crossing the road.
3. Have a second adult in the bus
Please have a second adult in the school bus at all times for emergency situations. What if the parent hadn’t been nearby and the driver had been incapacitated? Or as in a horrible Kenyan custom, a rowdy mob had tried to dish out mob justice.
4. Stay seated
It may seem like no big deal but staying seated is important. Staying seated is a simple rule that you need to make sure your kids follow. The driver should not actually move the vehicle until everyone is seated and belted up.
5. Seat belts on at all times
It may seem tedious but make sure you teach kids how to properly use a safety belt as you ensure they tie it at all times. All lap seat-belts should be replaced with ones that have a shoulder strap as well. Unbuckled passengers become projectiles who either get thrown out the window or fly into – so they are not only endangering themselves but the lives of others.
6. Make sure they know the basic road safely rules.
- Look left, right and left again before crossing
- Only cross the road at zebra crossings
- Don’t cross the road at bends
- Know the signals
- Always walk on the sidewalk and never on the road, even if there are no cars in sight.
7. Always make sure you walk your kids to and from the bus stop
Walk your kids to the bus stop and wait with them till they get on to the bus. If you’re unable to do pick them have an adult do so. It is also always safer to cross in front of the bus as the bus driver is more likely to see you than if you cross behind it. It’s sad to hear the many stories of children who have been ran over by a bus while crossing the road behind the bus.
8. Teach your kids to speak up
Teach your child to speak up on the bus if they realize that the driver is over speeding or disregarding traffic rules. If they can’t, then have them tell you.
9. Perform a safety drill
This is something quite important for the students as well as teachers. A safety drill should be done at the beginning of every term that highlights what measures should be taken in the case of an accident as well as collecting contact details for parents/guardians in easily accessible places.
If you find out that your kids bus driver is breaking any traffic laws be sure to inform a school official and follow up to see that something is done about it. Remember that your kid’s safety is paramount and teach them to be safe seeing as you can’t always be there to keep them safe.
Important Tip from a Nairobi mum:
“As a mum who has endured the anxiety of having my child survive a school bus accident I was grateful for the school’s policies and protocols, the well trained driver, and how proactive the administration was. Still, there are some things on this list that we are advocating for improvements. It is important to appreciate that while accidents happen, preparation and planning can make a life or death difference”
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