5 Tips to Help Your Kids Stay Safe Riding the School Bus in the Winter

By Sarah Boucher, Publisher Macaroni Kid Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Muskegon January 6, 2021

My kids, along with most of the other kids in our neighborhood, ride the bus to and from school.  Most of the year I don't worry too much about it, as I know the bus drivers, our neighborhood is rather quiet, and it's a short distance to school.  However, in the winter, things are a little more dangerous when it comes to riding the bus.  Many times cars are parked further into the street due to the snow, there are snowbanks from plowing, there are slippery spots everywhere, and it's cold outside!

Here are a few tips to help your kids stay safe (and you to have a bit more peace of mind) when they ride the bus in the winter.

  1. Dress appropriately for the weather. 
    While buses generally run on time, weather can make it take a bit longer for the bus to arrive. Also be aware of the windchill, as exposed skin should be limited during days that are colder or windy.  Coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and waterproof footwear will help keep kids warm and dry as they walk to/from the bus stop and wait for the bus.

  2. Wait 10 feet from where the bus stops, and be patient until it comes to a complete stop before approaching the bus.  
    Stairs to the bus can be slippery too, so use the handrails and proceed slowly.  

  3. Watch for the bus driver to signal it's safe to cross before walking in front of the bus. 
    Be sure to ask your bus drivers about the signals they use so your child knows what means "safe to cross" and what means "wait for my signal to cross".

  4. Never run after the bus.  
    The bus driver has a schedule to keep, and waiting too long for students at any one stop puts the bus behind for all subsequent stops. Be to your stop a few minutes prior to the scheduled bus arrival time. Have a plan with your child(ren) for what they should do if they miss the bus.

  5. Be aware of school closings and delays, as they will impact bus transportation. 
    Ask your school about how parents will be notified of cancellations and delays.  Many districts have email and/or text alerts parents can sign up for, and many local television and radio stations broadcast closings and delays.  Make sure you have a plan with your child (especially if they are a teenager and get themselves off to school in the morning) as to how they will know if school is cancelled or delayed.  

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