The school bus stop is a place where friendships can be forged for life. But there are also hazards children should be aware of.
Distracted drivers who don’t see or choose to ignore the stopped school bus lights are something children all need to watch for as they stand on the curb or cross the road. But there are electrical hazards, too, children should be taught to avoid.
“A lot can happen in the few minutes children are waiting for the bus,” said John Gasstrom, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives . “It’s our duty as parents, grandparents or guardians to teach them of the dangers around them.”
Keep these situations in mind when talking to your children about school bus and bus stop safety:
Don’t play near or around electrical equipment.
- Warn your child not to climb up trees and electrical poles or on guy wires that might put them dangerously close to overhead power lines.
- Warn your child to stay away from pad-mount transformers (the big, usually green boxes) or other electrical equipment in your neighborhood. Children might view these as perfect for climbing and playing on or lying on while waiting for the bus. But 7,200 volts of electricity are usually coursing through them.
- Do some homework yourself: before the school year starts, find out exactly where the stop will be. Check it out yourself for blind spots and dangers curious kids might get into while waiting in the morning.
Think how to stay safe in case there’s a bus accident.
- If the school bus is ever in an accident and ends up in a ditch, the bus may have hit a utility pole. Power lines may have dropped and be touching the bus. Teach your child to assume any fallen lines are still energized and dangerous. Let your child know if he or she is OK after an accident, remain in the bus as the driver calls 911.
In an emergency, your child may need to exit the bus. Show him or her how to jump clear from the bus with both feet together, avoiding contact with the bus and the ground at the same time. Then, he or she should shuffle away with tiny steps, keeping both feet together and on the ground at all times. This will reduce the risk for electrical shock or electrocution. Tell your child to look closely for fallen power lines to avoid accidently walking into them. Take the opportunity to practice this with your child, even if it’s just from your own vehicle.
Start these energizing chats with your kids!
Here are some other conversation starters to have with your children about electrical safety around the house:
- Electricity is not a toy, so they shouldn’t play with it.
- Never use any electrical devices or unplug anything from the wall without Mom and Dad’s permission.
- When unplugging an electrical cord, do not tug on the cord. Instead, use the plug itself.
- Never use anything electrical by the sink, bathtub, pool or other wet area. That includes hair dryers.
- Hands should be completely dry when handling electrical equipment.
- If something powered by electricity falls into the sink or bathtub, it should not be removed.
- Never put electric cords under carpets, rugs or furniture legs.
- Never play with electric outlets or plug anything besides electrical cords into them.
- Three-pronged plugs should not be plugged into a two-pronged outlet. The third (grounding) plug should not be removed. Using the wrong kind of plug in the outlet creates a shock hazard and could damage the equipment. Three-prong-to-two-prong adapters are available at most hardware stores.
Dos and Don’ts of School Bus Safety
DON’T play near or around power lines or poles while waiting for the bus.
DON’T climb trees near your bus stop.
DON’T climb on pad-mount transformers (the big green boxes) or other electrical equipment.
DON’T put your fingers, sticks or other objects through cracks in a transformer.
DON’T go near areas where you see hazard stickers.
DO tell a parent, teacher or someone from your local electric cooperative if you see a broken lock on a transformer.
DO listen to your bus driver or first responders if you’re in an accident involving a power line.
DON’T exit the bus until an adult tells you to unless it is an emergency.
In that case, DO jump away from the bus, landing on both feet and shuffling away from danger.