School Smarts: The best way to keep children safe at the bus stop
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Many students start riding school buses early in the morning. They may be tired, drivers may be less attentive and there are many dangers near traffic.
Safe Kids Coordinator at Kosair Children's Hospital, Erika Janes, R.N., explains the best ways to make sure your child is safe and seen while waiting at the bus stop or walking to school.
Pedestrian accidents have become the most common cause of serious injury and death among children 5- to 9-years-old and each year more than 1,300 children under the age of 14 die in pedestrian-related incidents.
Children should learn street safety as soon as they are ready to walk outdoors. Many young children cross streets without an adult, but very few under the age of 10 can deal safely with traffic. Their age and small size put them at risk.
The basics start with what to wear at the bus stop. Make sure to add reflective tape to backpacks and dark jackets. There are also reflective zipper pulls that can be added to backpacks. Kosair Children's Hospital has 100 to giveaway free. Jut call 502-629-KIDS (5437).
Teach your children to cross streets at corners and on crosswalks. But children under ten shouldn't do so by themselves. Younger children lack the depth perception that adults have. Also stress the importance of walking on side walks. And if they must be on the street, walk facing traffic. But if they are on a bike, ride with traffic.
Children need to be taught that bus drivers and all drivers have blind spots called "danger zones." Remind them to always remain 10 steps away from the bus to be out of the "Danger Zone" and where the driver can see you. Always cross the street in front of the bus. Never go behind the bus. And do not board the bus with your headphones on. It's too easy to miss something when you can't hear.
For children riding in cars, Janes says too many children are not using booster seats. Many of children use the boosters improperly. Parents need to make sure to help place the lap and shoulder belt on the proper parts of the body to help decrease the chance of injury. And remember, children should be in booster seats until they are at least 4 feet, 9 inches and 80 pounds.