Kansas safety group reminds parents of school transportation safety

Kansas safety group reminds parents of school transportation safety

Safe Kids Kansas is reminding parents to review important safety guidelines with their children before the new school year begins.  School buses, according to the Coordinator of Safe Kids Kansas Jan Stegelman, are the safest way for kids of all ages to get to and from school.  Designed with safety features no other vehicles have, including padded, high-backed seats that are close together to create a protective pocket, as long as kids remain in their seats properly, they are not likely to be ejected in a school bus crash.

When parents question why most school buses are not equipped with seat belts, Stegelman says the purpose of the safety belts is to prevent ejection, but there is not a significant risk of ejection from a large school bus.  A 2002 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on school bus safety found that seat belts on large buses “appear to have little, if any, benefit in reducing serious-to-fatal injuries in severe frontal crashes.”  Stegelman says more children are killed and injured crossing the street at bus stops than riding on a school bus.

The second leading cause of unintentional injury related death among children ages 5 to 14 are from pedestrian injuries.  Safe Kids Kansas recommends parents with children under 10 never allow them to cross the street alone, as well as teach children to recognize and obey all traffic signals and markings. 

If children are biking to school, safety precautions must also be taken.  Bicycles are associated with more childhood injuries than with any other consumer product besides the automobile.  In Kansas, an average of 168 children ages 14 and under die or are injured as a result of a bicycle crash in traffic every year. 

More than 27 million children ages 5 to 14 ride their bikes to school, so it is very important parents make sure their children understand the importance of bicycle safety.  Wearing helmets alone have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent.  In Kansas, a traumatic brain injury is to blame for 45 percent of child hospitalizations involving bicycle crash injuries. 

When dropping off and picking up children in an automobile, parents should make sure to use child safety seats, booster seats and safety belts correctly.  Drop off children in a location that does not require them to cross traffic, and make pickup arrangements in a safe spot away from the congestion of school traffic. 

Taking the time to review safety information can allow an easy reduction in the high number of fatalities and injuries that are reported because of school transportation accidents. 

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