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First Student Offers Tips for a Safe, Enjoyable Bus Ride School Bus Safety Begins with Awareness

Monday 3 August 2009

CINCINNATI— With a new school year just around the corner, 25 million students are preparing to board the most iconic of back to school symbols – the school bus. First Student, Inc., the nation’s leader in student transportation, offers eight tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride each day.

School Bus Safety Tips for Children

1. Remain alert at all times; don’t listen to your MP3 players, text, talk on your cell phone or play handheld video games because you won’t be aware of    what’s happening around you. Also be careful when wearing your hood up; it makes it difficult to see around you.
2. Be extra careful when crossing in front of the bus.
3. Don’t wear clothes with toggles or dangling key chains; they can get caught in the bus doors or on the handrail.

Tips for an Enjoyable School Bus Ride

1. Know your driver’s name and your bus number to be sure you are boarding the right bus.
2. Be courteous and respectful to your driver. Safely getting children to and from school is a tremendous responsibility that drivers  take very seriously.
3. Choose a bus “buddy” ahead of time so when you get on the bus you recognize a familiar face.
4. Have fun with your friends, but don’t be loud or get out of your seat; it distracts the driver.
5. Be courteous to fellow riders. If a student repeatedly bothers you, tell your bus driver; drivers are there to help.

Understanding what to expect can help ensure a positive school bus experience. “The bus ride can be a wonderful opportunity for socialization,” says Robin Gurwitch, Ph.D., Child Psychologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. “Parents can role play with their child to practice meeting new kids and interacting with them on the school bus.”

Besides being the safest mode of school transportation, riding on the bus can also be a treasured, memorable experience. In a 2009 survey conducted for First Student, nearly half of adults surveyed readily recalled personal school bus memories and 39 percent still remember the name of their school bus driver.

“Knowledgeable, professional drivers are an integral part of ensuring a safe, happy school bus ride,” said Gary Catapano, Senior Vice President of Safety at First Student. “Our drivers complete an in-depth training program which includes more than 50 hours of classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction, along with special techniques for student behavior management.”

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