No child should ever have to fear for his or her safety while waiting for the school bus. But in recent weeks, too many children have ended up in the emergency room instead of their school building due to a preventable accident at the bus stop.
“We’ve seen multiple children here at WakeMed after bus stop accidents in the past few weeks – in fact, four in the past month,” said Dr. Amy Griffin, an emergency physician with the WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department. “Drivers are whizzing past school buses, ignoring school bus lights or driving too fast to stop when children are making their way to the bus.”
Dr. Griffin offered the following tips for parents:
- Educate your children about bus stop safety – never step into the street while waiting for the bus, always assume that the passing car does not see you, always be on the defensive and pay attention when it comes to passing cars, and always look both ways before crossing the street to enter the bus.
- Because many children wait for the bus in the dark, dress your children in reflective clothing and even put reflective tape on their backpacks.
- Supervise your children at the bus stop yourself or ensure that an adult is always at the bus stop to provide supervision.
Additionally, Dr. Griffin offered critical advice to morning commuters:
- Be aware that school bus stops are everywhere these days, not just in residential neighborhoods. Always drive the speed limit and with extreme caution, especially in the morning when kids are out waiting for the bus.
- Always be aware of an upcoming school bus and slow down, even if the bus is not stopped or does not have its lights on.
- Always be observant of your surroundings, and slow down when you see children nearby.
- Never assume that a child who is waiting for the bus sees you.
If the unthinkable should happen and a child is hit at the bus stop, “Call 9-1-1 immediately. Bend down to comfort the child but do not attempt to move the child, and leave his or her head on the ground. This is important in helping to avoid spinal injury,” said Dr. Griffin.
Caution, speed and awareness are all important factors when it comes to driver and bus stop safety. Please heed this advice, and help make our community a safer place. The WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department is located at 3000 New Bern Avenue in Raleigh.
For more information about school bus safety, read these past blogs: