A tragedy out of New Jersey is striking at the heart of many parents' fears about sending their kids off to school. The mother of a 6-year-old watched this week as her little boy was hit by his own school bus. Little Edmond Bock was running to catch the bus, and somehow he ended up being hit and killed, right outside his own home.
The driver was a substitute, but he had 25 years experience. So how does something like this happen?
It shouldn't. Not with an experienced driver. Not with a mom standing right there.
And yet it has and it does, and that's what terrifies me as a mom.
Believe it or not, I didn't have that many fears about sending my kid to school. She was ready to go, and I wasn't about to hold her back. But from the time she started kindergarten to now, some four years later, I still get a little ache in my belly when the school bus comes chugging around the corner.
I know it's not really reasonable. We have a fantastic bus driver who follows all the safety rules, and I've tried to drill those same rules into my daughter's head.
But it's there.
Maybe it's because when I was a kid, I remember our school bus hitting my friend's dog? Remember the horrifying noise? It was over in an instant for that poor pup.
Maybe it's because I have been inside a school bus when a truck collided with the bus (I was sitting in the back seat, as a matter of fact, and we were rear-ended)? I know that buses are built like tanks. What happens on the outside barely affects those on the inside.
The fact is, a bus is SO big and kids are SO little that the danger is inevitable, and accidents do happen.
But the best way to prevent them is to TALK to your kids! If you haven't talked about bus safety with your kids lately, here are some tips to cover, courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street.
- Wait until the bus stops, the door opens, and the driver says that it's okay before stepping onto the bus.
- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least five giant steps (10 feet) ahead of the bus before you cross.
- Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
- Use the handrails to avoids falls.
- When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings and book bags with straps don't get caught in the handrails or doors.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- Walk at least three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
- If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up because the driver may not be able to see you.
Our hearts go out to the Bock family right now.
What do you do to keep your kids safe when it comes to the bus?
Image via bsabarnowl/Flickr