With the start of a new school year, school bus safety is something parents should discuss with their children.

Adam Pickens, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, recommends the following safety precautions to help keep your children safe.

Help your children arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive and remind them to stay away from the street while waiting on the bus. Remind them that as the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (six feet) from the curb until the bus comes to a complete stop and to watch for cars.

Emphasize to your children they should stay seated and not put their head, arms, papers or anything else out the window. Also, remind them to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before getting up.

“Once your child exits the bus, they should always walk in front of the bus where the driver can see them,” says Dr. Pickens. “Staying five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus is a good rule of thumb. Remind your child to never bend down in front of the bus to tie shoes or pick up objects, as the driver may not see them before starting to move.”

There are many good information resources to help keep your child safe this school year, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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