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School Bus Safety

August 26th, 2013

Submitted by: Alberta Safety Council

Every school year, thousands of children in Edmonton and the surrounding areas will board yellow school buses to take them to and return safely from school.

Did you know that school buses are one of the safest ways to transport children to school? The size and weight of the vehicle and the safety features designed into it offer substantial protection to bus occupants in a collision. Despite the large number of children transported and the distances travelled, serious injuries and fatalities are very rare. In fact, less than 0.02 per cent of all Canadian road deaths involve an occupant of a school bus.

The actual greatest risk to our children’s safety is located outside the bus, either from the bus itself or from the surrounding traffic. To help keep your children safe as they travel to and from school on the bus, here are some safety tips to share with your children when waiting for and riding the bus.

Getting to the school bus

·         Remind your child to get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the school bus arrives. Children should never run after the school bus to try to catch it if they miss their ride.

·         Your child should stay on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, tell them to walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.

·         Remind your child that s/he should cross the street only at a corner. If there are no street corners because your family lives in a rural community, you should show your child the safest way to get to the bus stop. When crossing the road, your child must remember to look to the left, then to the right, and to the left once more before crossing.

·         Stand as far from the side of the road away from traffic, while waiting for your bus to arrive. Upon arrival, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before advancing. 

Riding on the school bus

·         Once inside the school bus, your child should sit promptly, put his/her belongings under  the seat and stay calm.

·         Do not jump up and down, fight or tease other passengers or make lots of noise.

·         Remind your child to wait until the school bus comes to a complete stop before getting up  off.

·         Never distract the driver and always follow his/her instructions.

Getting off the school bus

·         Your child should use the handrail when getting on and off the school bus.

·         Take five giant steps straight out the bus door, and out of the danger zone. 

·         If you drop something near the bus, never try to pick it up because it’s quite likely the bus driver can't see you. Ask an adult or the driver to help.

·         If students must cross the street, they should always cross in front of the school bus but only after establishing eye contact with the school bus driver.

School Bus Danger Zone

It is important for you to remind your child to stay away from the three danger zones - the front, sides and back of the bus - by staying at least three meters (10 feet) away from the school bus. Explain how most injuries happen in this danger zone and why it is important to be especially careful in this area and to get out of the danger zone as quickly as possible.  For more tips and training for new riders, check with your school or school bus provider for program dates.

For more information on school bus safety tips, visit Transport Canada’s website at:


Edmonton Transit System

Another travel option for Edmonton students is to take the Edmonton Transit System (ETS).  The ETS offers reduced student fares, travel training and community outreach programs as part of their service to student travellers.  Parents of students who will be taking the ETS to school this year are encouraged to visit the ETS website ( to learn more.

The ETS also has a developed a “Travel to School on ETS:  A Beginner’s Guide” – this handy guide for parents and students interested in learning how to use the Edmonton’s local transit system is available to download in PDF format from the ETS website.




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