If you ask school officials about the safety of the bus system, they'll probably tell you all about the safety features on modern buses, the advantage that they get from their sheer size and weight during an accident and the rigorous hiring process for new drivers. That's all good, but what about before the children get on the bus or after they get off? How safe are they at these critical points?
It's important for parents to talk to children to tell them how to stay safe near the bus and near the road. For instance, if they see their friends waiting for them on the bus, they'll feel excited, but they should never sprint across the road to get to the bus faster. They need to take their time, look both ways and only cross when it is safe. Better yet, they should wait to get picked up at a place where they won't have to cross the street at all.
Kids also need to communicate with the driver. They should never assume that traffic has stopped, even though it is supposed to, when they get dropped off. Before crossing the road, kids should look up and meet the bus driver's eyes. The driver can double-check and then motion to the children to tell them it's safe to cross. This is similar to how you always want to make eye contact with a driver who has stopped at a stop sign if you're going to cross the road in front of the car.
These tips can help, but children still do get involved in pedestrian accidents. If your child gets hurt, make sure you know what legal options you have.