1. Teach Them to Use Sanitizer

Your child’s school may have included sanitizer on their suggested list of supplies, but the stuff won’t work as effectively if your child doesn’t apply it correctly. If your kid is like many, they will wipe the material on their pants rather than let it absorb. 

Sanitizer already works less effectively than plain old soap and water, but it comes in handy where none is present, like the bus. Teach your children how to apply enough of the product to the palm of one hand and rub it in thoroughly. Teach them that when they wipe it off, they leave icky germs behind. 

Also teach them to wash their hands as soon as they get off the bus and into school!

2. Show Your Child Where to Stand 

If your child stands too close to the curb, they could get hit by the bus or passing traffic if they stumble. While many metro areas have rules mandating five feet of distance separating the bench from the curb for public busses, school bus stops rarely share similar designs. A careless jostle could cost your child their life, so teach them to stand back at least three giant steps from the curb at all times. Accompany them to the bus stop to observe and reinforce this rule.

Once they grow old enough to walk to the stop independently, you may still wish to pop in occasionally to make sure they maintain positive habits. 

3. Arrive on Time 

People who study on-the-job injuries aver that rushing to get things done results in far too many accidents. You don’t want your precious child to suffer an injury because they couldn’t find their homework assignment at the last minute.

Help your child to prepare their backpack and outfit for the following day during the preceding evening. Prepare healthy grab-and-go breakfasts that you can give them in a jiffy.

4. Coach Vehicular Safety 

If your child drops something in the street, their instinct is to bend over and pick it up. However, doing so makes them even more invisible to drivers than they already are. Little ones already suffer a height disadvantage, and stooping down makes them impossible to see.

Instead, teach children to get an adult if they drop something in the roadway. Adults are taller and more visible and have significantly higher impulse control. 

5. Use a Seatbelt or Remain Seated

Unfortunately, the big yellow bus your child rides to school probably doesn’t have seat belts, which concerns many parents. If seatbelts are available, teach children to use them. It’s wise to reinforce that this rule applies to all vehicles, including rideshares like Uber and Lyft.

Young people often take on a feeling of invincibility, and unfortunately, this doesn’t let up just because they reach teenagerhood. In fact, teens ages 16-19 are the group t in danger of thinking they can engage in high-risk behaviors without consequences.

Regardless of how old your child is or how mature he or she seems, it’s important that you continuously reinforce the importance of seatbelt use in whatever vehicle they’re in. If no belts exist, teach your kiddos that it is crucial to remain seated at all times unless the driver instructs them to exit or enter.  

6. Speak in Inside Voices 

School bus drivers may have the patience of your typical saint, but they’re human, too. Think of all the times your child has distracted you while you drove, then multiply this times 30 or 40 tykes. While the bus driver can enforce some rules, noise control proves challenging. Teach your children to always speak in quiet, inside voices when they’re in a vehicle to avoid distracting the driver. 

7. Keep the Aisles Clear 

Your child’s field hockey sticks present a tripping hazard if they extend into the school bus aisle. As much as possible, instruct children to keep backpacks and other belongings on their seats or their laps. If you want to score bonus points, volunteer to transport sports equipment on game days to help promote safety. Hey, at least you won’t have to endure riding with hyperactive soccer players. 

8. Reinforce Stranger Danger Rules 

The time will come when your child will need to go to school and return independently. Unfortunately, the sad truth is there are people out there who may wish to do harm to your child.

A common ploy involves a stranger telling your child they must accompany them because you were hurt, and they’re taking them to you. To prevent kidnapping, establish a secret password that you can use if you ever need to have another adult pick up your child. That way, if the person doesn’t know the password, your child knows not to accompany them.

Heed School Bus Safety and Hygiene Tips

You can’t accompany your child 24/7, but you can teach them how to keep themselves safer on and off the school bus. Once you enforce the rules above, you’ll enjoy peace of mind when you send your little ones off in the morning. 

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Kate Harveston DrGreene.com contributor

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