School Bus Safety 101

Every parent gives their child the traffic safety conversation. Looking both ways before crossing and waiting for a car to fully stop before walking are important fundamentals. They’re meant to instil sage pedestrian habits and keep our children out of harm’s way.

With classes starting up again and fall right around the corner, the roads are full of eager young learners and busses shuttling children to and from school. It’s a time of year that requires all drivers to apply safe driving and awareness techniques, especially around buses.   

Many parents also know that our children are prone to forgetting what we tell them, resulting in situations that range from frustrating, to dangerous. As drivers and parents, it’s our job to do everything in our power to ensure a child’s safety, and this means practicing school bus safety at all times.

School Bus Safety

When a school bus is collecting children at a stop, it flashes alternating red lights and extends a red STOP sign from its passenger side. This is a preventative measure to keep motorists from driving past a blind spot where children might be crossing. Passing a bus while its STOP sign is flashing is not only unsafe, it’s illegal.

Other safety measures a parent can practice include supervising bus stops. Children are easily distracted while waiting for the school bus, and are eager to play with their friends. Having an older sibling or adult monitor the situation can significantly reduce the risk of play shifting into the street. It’s important to remember that school boards and bus drivers are only responsible for the safety of a child while they’re on the bus.

According to a Nova Scotia road survey in 2010, pedestrian injuries are the leading cause of injury and death among Atlantic Canadian children aged 14 and under. Exercising preventative school bus safety habits can help to reduce these devastating accidents, and there are plenty of resources, both offline and on, with helpful information on that very topic.

School Bus Safety Campaign is a website built by Safety Services Nova Scotia with the goal of educating the public on school bus safety. A yearly video contest for kids focusing on drivers who stop at bus lights keeps students engaged and excited about safety habits, and the website’s mission alone makes it worth your attention.

For more information on how you and your children can get involved in school bus safety, visit