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Survival skills for Pennsylvania kids who ride school buses

Does your child ride a bus to school every day? Even if you are one of many Pennsylvania parents who carpool to get their kids to school, if you have an athlete in your family, he or she may ride the bus to get to team events at other locations. It can be scary to entrust the safety of your child to another driver. If that driver is negligent, your child may suffer serious injury, even death. The more children know about school bus safety ahead of time, the better.  

It's rare that you'd travel with your child on a bus (perhaps for a field trip) so discussing safety is a good idea that may lower his or her risk for injury if an accident occurs. If someone calls you to inform you that your child suffered injuries in a bus crash, you may feel as though the world has dropped from beneath your feet. The good news is that there are support networks already in place to help you navigate the aftermath of a school bus accident. 

Seatbelts, exits and more 

There are usually no seat belts in school buses, so the first measure of safety for children riding in such massive vehicles is to remain seated at all times while a bus is moving. If teachers or coaches are on the bus, they should insist that children stay in seated positions at all times while traveling. The following list includes additional safety tips: 

  • If possible, wait for instructions before exiting: Your child should always know where the emergency exit is located on a school bus. The problem is that it may not be immediately accessible or safe to access following a collision. If your child's bus flips over during a crash, the emergency exit may wind up in near the ceiling of the bus. Climbing out without outside assistance may lead to further injury.
  • The bus may be unstable: After a crash, a school bus may be unstable. It can take minutes or hours for responders to stabilize the vehicle so it's safe for passengers to exit. 
  • Remain calm: Your child is undoubtedly going to be afraid if his or her bus is in a collision. However, even if he or she is injured, trying to stay calm is always best because an adult is likely going to be giving instructions that your child may not hear if he or she is panicking.  

Two types of situations often lead to school bus crashes. Your child's driver may have done all that was possible to try to avoid the crash. Perhaps a drunk driver hit the bus or someone ran a red light. On the other hand, if the school bus driver is the one who was negligent, you may be understandably angry, knowing that your child's injuries might have been prevented.  

Seeking support 

School officials often set up support systems for families whose children have been involved in school bus accidents. Your child may suffer post-traumatic stress disorder because of the crash. He or she may have trouble sleeping and may have physical pain as well, as a result of injury. You can seek recovery assistance from appropriate medical teams, counselors and others who can lend a hand to help you seek as full a recovery as possible on behalf of your child.  

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