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School Safety

School bus safety

​​Travelling on a school bus is safe. You might worry about school buses not having seat belts. The inside of a school bus is designed to protect your child, even without seat belts. Adding seat belts to school buses may not make them safer.

School buses have other safety features including:

  • flashing, red lights to warn other vehicles when a bus is stopping
  • high-back seats to absorb shock if the bus stops quickly or is in a collision

Even with safety features, injuries can still happen. Passengers on a school bus are most likely to get hurt when:

  • getting on or off the bus
  • a vehicle hits a school bus from behind

Going to the bus stop

Teach your child pedestrian safety rules for crossing the road safely:

  • Cross the road at marked crosswalks.
  • If there isn’t a crosswalk, cross at a corner of the road. If there isn’t a corner (like in a very small town), show your child the safest way to cross the road to get to the bus stop.
  • Don’t cross the road during a red light.
  • If your child needs to cross in front of the bus, make sure they wait until the bus driver sees them.
  • Walk on the sidewalk. If there isn’t a sidewalk, walk on left side of the road, facing traffic.

Teach your child to point, pause, and proceed before they cross the road.

  • Point at the crosswalk with your arm to tell drivers that you’re ready to cross.
  • Pause to look for traffic. Look in all directions. Make eye contact with drivers and wait until all vehicles have come to a full stop.
  • Proceed across the street with your arm out. Look in both directions as you cross to make sure it’s safe.

To get to the bus stop safely, also teach your child to:

  • be at the bus stop at least 5 minutes early
  • walk (don’t run) to the bus
  • not use a mobile device (like a cell phone or tablet) or other distracting things until they’re in a safe place

It’s a good idea to walk the bus route with your child until they know how to get to the bus stop safely. If you have young children, always walk them to and from the bus stop. If you can’t walk with your child, have another adult walk with them.

At the bus stop

Teach your child to:

  • Take 5 steps back from the road when the bus is stopping – If they can touch the bus, they’re too close.
  • Wait for the bus to come to a full stop before they walk towards it.
  • Stay at least 5 steps away from the front, sides, and back of the bus.
  • Pay attention to what’s going on around them.
  • Not use mobile devices or other distracting things until they’re a safe distance from the road.
  • Tell the driver before they pick up something they dropped near or under the bus.

Getting on the school bus

The biggest chance of getting hurt is when you get on and off the bus. Teach your child to stay safe by:

  • standing in a group when they wait for the bus
  • getting on and off the bus one at a time
  • using the handrail to get on and off the bus

On the school bus

Teach your child to:

  • always listen to the bus driver
  • sit down quickly
  • put their things under the seat
  • stay seated and face forward
  • not walk around inside the bus while it’s moving
  • keep their head, hands, and arms inside the bus (not out the windows)
  • wait until the bus comes to a full stop before they stand up

Current as of: December 7, 2023

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention, Alberta Health Services