The kids are back in school today and that means you're going to be encountering the big yellow bus on your drive in or your drive home. Here are some tips to keep you and your kids safe this school year.


For more than 23 million kids across the country their school day begins and ends with a trip on the bus, so as you're heading out for work, be alert when you're backing out of the driveway and driving through the neighborhood. Kids are prone to goofing off and running around and may not always be paying attention to what's going on around them. They could be focused on getting to school, but they aren't always focused on getting there safely, so keep your eyes peeled. It's also important when you're driving down the street, be mindful of kids congregating near the bus stop and kids who are late to catch the bus. They may run into the street without looking both ways first.


It's also important to slow down if you're driving near or behind the bus. When you see the yellow flashing lights, it means that the bus is preparing to slow down, so you should be preparing to slow down and stop your vehicle because the red flashing lights means that the bus is loading or unloading children, so stop and stay stopped until all of the kids are out of the street, and even then, drive slowly and carefully. Eliminate those in car distractions and ignore the phone. Running a stop arm on a school bus carries a pretty stiff penalty, so pay attention.


For kids, get them to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive and as they're waiting, make sure that they take three giant steps backward so that they're far enough back from the curb. This is especially important when the snow flies because curbs and sidewalks can be slippery and it's very easy for them the slip and fall into the street.


Make sure they wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the door is open before they approach the bus. If the driver is one to communicate with the children, tell your kid to wait until the bus driver or bus monitor says it's OK to get on the bus before boarding. When they're getting on the bus, make sure they use the hand rails and make sure that strings and straps are tucked in to avoid getting caught on seats and railings. If they drop something, make sure you tell them to tell the driver as the driver may not always be able to see what's going on and leave without them.


Once on the bus, tell your kids to go directly to a seat and stay seated until they get to school. Once in the seat, if the bus has a safety restraint system, tell them to buckle up. Don't shout or try to distract the driver. Driving kids to school is a huge responsibility. Keep the aisles clear, don't switch seats, don't throw things, and never play with the emergency exits.

When crossing the street, make sure the kids either wait until the bus is gone to cross the


street, or walk at least ten feet in front of the bus. Make sure to stress to your child that when crossing the street, they can see the driver before they walk into the street. If they can't see the driver, the driver can't see them. Many buses have an arm that comes out when the door opens to mark a safe crossing distance in front of the bus, but just to be even safer, ask that they take three giant steps out in front of where the arms stops.

You'll probably get an, "AWE! MOOOOOOOOOOMMMM! So and so doesn't have to do that! Why do I?" Just tell them it's important to set a good example and make wise choices. Plus that and it's super important to remember safety first.

Here is a video for you and your kids to watch together about how to stay safe around and on the bus.

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