THE BUS STOP can be a dangerous place for children: bullies, speeding cars and—electricity? That’s right, electrical dangers are everywhere. The things that seem like minor risks in the moment could end up being deadly.
Children are impressionable from a young age, so it’s our duty as parents, grandparents or guardians to inform them of the dangers around them. Those dangers could even be at the bus stop or on their way to school.
Keep these situations in mind when talking to your children about school bus and bus stop safety:
While waiting for the bus
Riders should not approach the school bus until it has come to a full and complete stop and doors are open, but a lot can happen in the few minutes when children are waiting for the bus. Kids are curious by nature and like to explore. Teach children not to play near or around power lines or poles while waiting for the bus. It could be a fatal mistake if your child climbs up a nearby tree that is in contact with a power line, so make sure your child understands hidden dangers.
Stay away from pad-mount transformers
Children might view these green boxes as playground equipment, perfect for climbing and playing on. So, warn them to not put their fingers, sticks or other objects through cracks in a transformer. Explain why they should never touch or go near electrical equipment or areas where they see hazard stickers.
Teach children to tell a parent, teacher or someone from the local electric cooperative if they see any downed lines or if they see a broken lock on a transformer. Tell them to assume that all downed lines are energized power lines and to stay far away.
Discuss emergency scenarios
If the school bus were in an accident involving power lines, what should your child do? If your child must exit the vehicle, advise him or her to always listen for instructions from first responders or the bus driver, and they should remain in the bus as the driver calls 911.
Assume that the lines are still energized (which means it’s still dangerous). In an emergency, your child may need to jump out of the vehicle, with both feet together, avoiding contact with the bus and the ground at the same time. Then, he or she should shuffle away with small steps, being sure to keep both feet together and on the ground at all times until at least 40 feet away. This will reduce the risk for electrical shock or electrocution. Take the opportunity to practice this with your child, even if it’s just from your own vehicle.
Talking to your kids about scary situations can sometimes be difficult, but having continuous and proactive conversations is a great way to help them remember when the time comes. You might not think they’re listening in the moment, but when they’re in a tough situation, you want to be that voice inside their heads reminding them to be safe.
KYLE CLEVINGER is Manager of Operations at Grayson RECC.