Canadian Safety Council
It’s that time of year again – back to school time. Canada Safety Council would like to remind parents and guardians to teach children about safe travel to and from school. Take the time to know the rules and educate children about safe conduct when using and sharing roadways, whether it be by school bus, car, bicycle or by foot.
School Bus Travel
Research conducted by Transport Canada shows that school bus travel is one of the safest methods of transportation. It is 16 times safer than travelling in a family car per passenger/kilometre of travel. Although school buses have an excellent safety record, mishaps can happen. These mishaps can include instances where children are injured while riding on the bus. It is more common however, for injuries to be sustained once outside the bus, including being hit by their own school bus or other vehicles.
Every driver must remember that when approaching a stopped school bus (on a non-divided road) that has its overhead red signal-lights flashing and side stop sign out, must stop before reaching the bus and must not proceed until the bus moves or the overhead red signal-lights have stopped flashing.
Here are some safety tips to share with children to ensure safe travel.
Getting to and on the school bus: Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled pick up time. Children should never run after the school bus to try to catch it. If you miss the bus, go back home or if you are at school, report to a teacher, stay on the sidewalk, well away from the roadway and stay back until the bus has come to a full stop and the door opens, if your child needs to cross the street, teach them to look to the left, then to the right, and to the left once more before crossing the street, and use the handrail when boarding or exiting the bus.
Riding on the school bus: Take a seat as quickly as possible, put belongings under the seat and stay seated, never stick anything out of the window, including arms or heads, save food for snack time at school or until you get home, and wait until the school bus comes to a complete stop before getting off.
After riding on the school bus: When getting off the bus: take two large steps away from bus. If you must walk in front of the bus, walk ahead at least three metres (10 giant steps), the driver must be able to see you and will give a signal when it is safe to cross. Cross in a single file and if a child drops something near or under the school bus, they should never attempt to retrieve it without the driver’s permission.
Travel by Bicycle
To ride a bicycle to and from school, children must be mature enough (minimum 9 – 12 years old), and must have enough experience. The rider should be able to scan ahead and check behind without swerving. Prevention is the key to safety. Take time and share tips with your children.