The school bus stop is a place where friendships can be forged for life. But there are also hazards children should be aware of.
Distracted drivers who don’t see or choose to ignore the stopped school bus lights are something children all need to watch for as they stand on the curb or cross the road. But there are also electrical hazards that children should be taught to avoid.
“A lot can happen in the few minutes children are waiting for the bus,” said John Gasstrom, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “It’s our duty as parents, grandparents or guardians to teach them of the dangers around them.”
Keep these situations in mind when talking to your children about school bus and bus stop safety:
Don’t play near or around electrical equipment
Warn your child not to climb up trees and electrical poles or on guy wires that might put them dangerously close to overhead power lines.
Warn your child to stay away from pad-mount transformers (the big, usually green boxes) or other electrical equipment in your neighborhood. Children might view these as perfect for climbing and playing on or lying on while waiting for the bus. But 7,200 volts of electricity are usually coursing through them.
Do some homework yourself: before the school year starts, find out exactly where the stop will be. Check it out yourself for blind spots and dangers curious kids might get into while waiting in the morning.
Think how to stay safe in case there’s a bus accident
If the school bus is ever in an accident and ends up in a ditch, the bus may have hit a utility pole. Power lines may have dropped and be touching the bus. Teach your child to assume any fallen lines are still energized and dangerous. Let your child know if he or she is OK after an accident, remain in the bus as the driver calls 911.
In an emergency, your child may need to exit the bus. Show him or her how to jump clear from the bus with both feet together, avoiding contact with the bus and the ground at the same time. Then, he or she should shuffle away with tiny steps, keeping both feet together and on the ground at all times. This will reduce the risk for electrical shock or electrocution. Tell your child to look closely for fallen power lines to avoid accidently walking into them. Take the opportunity to practice this with your child, even if it’s just from your own vehicle.
Talking to your kids about scary situations can sometimes be difficult but having continuous and proactive conversations is a great way to help them remember should the time come.