Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 22, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461


"Stop On Red, Kids Ahead"

Oct. 22-26 is National School Bus Safety Week

In observance of National School Bus Safety Week, October 22-26, 2007, Safe Kids Kansas reminds parents and caregivers that more than 25 children die yearly in pedestrian accidents involving school buses in the United States. In fact, three times as many children are killed in school bus accidents while getting on or off the bus than while riding it.

“It is important for all drivers to remember this year’s theme, ‘S top on Red, Kids Ahead,’” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “In Kansas, it is against the law to pass a stopped school bus from either direction when the school bus red lights are activated.”

“Teach your children about the 10-foot danger zone around the school bus, where the driver can’t see children on the ground,” says Stegelman. “Young children should take eight giant steps away from the bus to be sure the bus driver can see them. Older kids who must cross the street should look to the bus driver for an ‘OK’ sign before crossing, and always cross in front of the bus.”

Kids should stand on the grass or sidewalk while waiting for the bus and not enter the street until the driver has opened the door of the bus. “Kids tend to run toward the bus. Don’t let them,” says Stegelman.

Safe Kids Kansas also offers children these reminders:

• The bus driver and others cannot see you if you are standing within 10 feet of the bus. Stay out of the danger zone!

• If something falls under or near the bus, tell the driver. Never try to pick it up yourself!

• Before you get on or off the bus, look for the bus safety lights and make sure they are flashing.

• Be alert to traffic. When you get on or off the bus, look left, right, and left again before you enter or cross the street. Continue to look for cars as you cross the street.

“School buses are, by far, the safest way for kids of all ages to get to and from school,” says Stegelman. “School buses are designed with safety features no other vehicles have. The padded, high-backed seats on school buses are close together to create protective compartments, like egg cartons.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the rate of crash-related fatalities on school buses is 0.2 per million miles traveled, compared to 1.5 for cars.

For more information about school bus safety for children, visit www.safekids.org.

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Norton, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. For more information visit www.safekidskansas.org.