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Safe Kids Fast Fact - August 2012

Augusta, Ga. – As the summer draws to an end, back-to-school season is in full effect. Back-to-school means an increased amount of traffic and pedestrians on roads and sidewalks. Bus safety starts with you. It is vital for parents to discuss the importance of getting to and from school safely with their children before sending them back to school this fall.

Safe Kids East Central, led by Georgia Health Sciences Children’s Medical Center, offers these important safety tips to help you and your children avoid pedestrian or bus injuries this school year.

School bus safety rules for students

  • While waiting for the bus, stand back at least 10 feet or five giant steps from the curb until the bus has completely stopped.
  • When the bus has stopped and the driver opens the door, line up single file.  Do not push or shove anyone in line.  Get on the bus and find a seat.
  • Keep the isle of the bus clear of feet, backpacks, books and lunch boxes to prevent trips and falls.
  • Stay in your seat at all times.  Bus seats are designed to protect you from getting hurt if the bus stops suddenly.  In addition, standing or changing seats may distract the driver.
  • Talk quietly; loud noises and fighting can distract the driver.
  • Keep head, arms and hands inside the bus. 
  • Never throw things inside the bus or out of the bus window. 
  • Hold onto the bus handrails to prevent falls when exiting the bus.  Be careful that clothing, book bags, and key rings don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.
  • After getting off the bus, take five giant steps away from the bus, and stay on the sidewalk.  If there is no sidewalk, stay on the shoulder of the road.  Never walk next to or behind the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver.  Never try to pick it up, because the bus driver may not be able to see you.
  • Children under age 8 should be accompanied (hold hands) by an adult when crossing the road.
  • Before crossing the road, walk five giant steps beyond the front of the bus so that the driver can see you.  Look left for approaching vehicles; then look right, and then look left again.  Keep looking while you are crossing.  Make eye contact with the bus driver and with other drivers on the road to make sure they see you.
  • Never cross behind the bus.
  • Always listen to the bus driver.  He or she has rules to help keep you safe.

Pedestrian Safety

• Children under 8 have difficulty judging how quickly traffic is moving, and they may think that cars can stop instantly.  Children this age don’t always recognize danger or react to it appropriately, so they should be accompanied by an adult when crossing the street.

• Young children often believe that if they can see a driver, a driver can see them. But it’s important that you teach them to make eye contact with drivers.

• Children learn bike and pedestrian safety by watching and doing.  Adults and older children should act as role models by practicing safe habits.

• Remember to cross at the crosswalk, and if there is no cross walk, to cross at the corner.  Follow these safety steps.

1.     Stop at the curb or edge of the road. Never run into the street

2.     Listen and look for traffic. Look left, right and left again

3.     Wait until the street is clear.  Keep looking as you cross.

Remember, buses and all motor vehicles can be a danger to children if the proper safety precautions are not taken. Follow and teach these safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe this school year.

Information provided by: Safe Kids East Central, led by Georgia Health Sciences Children’s Medical Center, Rene Hopkins, RN, Coordinator, 706-721-7606. Read the full article at

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