Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2009

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

"Avoid Harm, Obey the Stop Arm"

Oct. 19-23 is National School Bus Safety Week

Topeka, Kan. -- October 19-23, 2009, is National School Bus Safety Week, and Safe Kids Kansas reminds parents and caregivers that school bus transportation is the safest way for school-aged children to ride. School buses are nearly eight times safer than passenger vehicles. Getting to and from the bus is more dangerous than riding the bus. Last year, 26 children were killed as pedestrians getting on or off a school bus, or while waiting at the school bus stop. In fact, five times as many children were killed while getting on or off the bus than while riding it. The theme of this year’s observance is “Avoid Harm, Obey The Stop Arm.”

Fatal crashes involving school bus occupants are extremely rare events, even though school buses serve daily in every community. Approximately 25 million children ride school buses to and from school each day.

Teach your children about the danger zone around the school bus, where the driver can’t see children on the ground,” says Cherie Sage, State Director for Safe Kids Kansas. “Children should make eye contact with the driver when loading and unloading and cross the street only after the driver indicates it is safe.  Young children should take more than five 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 and assume that drivers will see them and wait for them to cross the street.  Remind your child to stay within the bus driver’s sight,” says Sage.

Safe Kids Kansas also offers children these reminders from the National Association for Pupil Transportation:

Drivers should be reminded not to pass a school bus with its lights flashing. In Kansas, it is against the law to pass a stopped school bus from either direction when the stop arm is extended.

National School Bus Safety Week is held every year in the third week of October and led by the National Association for Pupil Transportation. For details, visit www.napt.org.

“School buses are, by far, the safest way for kids of all ages to get to and from school,” says Sage. “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.” For more information about school bus safety for children, visit www.usa.safekids.org.

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of over 70 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, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area (including Butler, Harvey, Sumner and Sedgwick counties) and the Metro Kansas City Area (Wyandotte county and several Missouri counties.)  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.

Visit us at www.safekidskansas.org.