Most parents feel a mixture of trepidation and excitement when their children start school. The anxiety is only heightened when young kids must start travelling to school by bus. This fear is not without basis, given the number of highly publicized cases about sex crimes committed against children in school buses. School-bus fears also tend to revolve around images of horrible wrecks and accidents, though children are most likely to get hurt during routine pickup and drop.
While your fears may never be completely allayed it helps tremendously to be aware of some safety strategies and practices to protect your child. Equip your young ones with this knowledge too so that they are able to stay out of harm's way.
DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE
1. Ensure that the bus has a contract with the school and has more than one woman attendant on the vehicle.
2. As far as possible, do not allow your child to spend any time alone on the bus. If your child gets off at the last stop, make sure you (or another reliable adult) are at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus arrives.
3. Help your child memorize your telephone/mobile/office number as well as your address in case of an emergency. While it may be difficult for him to contact you from the bus, it is still a good thing to assure him that he can reach you at any time. You can write these details on a card and keep it in his school bag.
4. Explain to your child about good touch and bad touch. Also, let them know that they shouldn't let anyone touch them in inappropriate places. Sex education as early as possible can help protect your child from being sexually exploited.
SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS FOR YOUR CHILD
5. Be at the bus stop five minutes prior to the arrival of the bus. Never run to or from the bus.
6. Wait at your designated stop in a safe place, back from the side of the road.
7. Don't speak loudly or make loud noises that could distract the driver.
8. Don't put your head, arms or hands out the window.
9. Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into the car with a stranger. Always go straight home and tell mummy or daddy if a stranger tries to talk to you or pick you up.
10. Never throw things on the bus or out the windows.
11. Never play with the emergency exits.
12. If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions.
13. NEVER EVER get off on a different stop! Even if a friend says it's ok to come over and visit.
14. No getting up and down, turning around or putting legs in the aisle. It's unsafe to do these things in a moving bus.
15. Never run behind, beside or in front of the school bus to pick something up. If you bend down to pick something up, the driver may not see you.
16. Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and bags with straps don't get caught in the handrails or doors.
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