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Health Stories

All Aboard! Preventing Injuries on the School Bus

Injuries to children on a school bus are rare. Because children are more likely to be injured getting on or off the bus or crossing the street, it’s important for them to learn a few simple things to prevent serious injuries.

Did you know?

  • Children are safer in school buses than in cars. School buses are well designed to protect children in the case of a crash. There are very few injuries to children riding on school buses in Canada. In Ontario, bus drivers must be licensed, have special training, and good driving records. School buses must meet safety standards established by Transport Canada.
  • Most fatal school bus injuries happen when students are getting on or off the bus.
  • Every school bus has a Danger Zone. The danger zone is the area around the bus where the driver cannot see a child. If a child is standing close enough to touch the bus, he or she is in the Danger Zone!


Getting on the Bus

Teach your child to:


  • Wait for the bus in a safe place. Do not play in ditches or on snowbanks. Be on time. Never run to the bus.
  • Stay out of the Danger Zone! Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver opens the door. If something is dropped, have your child leave the item on the ground and ask an adult or the driver for help.
  • Sit Down and Enjoy the Ride. Sit down and stay there, facing forward at all times. Do not place things in the aisle, or throw things. Keep your arms and head inside the bus. Don’t forget to say thanks to your driver!

If your child must cross the street to get on or off the bus, make sure they:

  • Take 10 steps away from the bus, then turn and take 10 steps forward.
  • Wait for the driver to signal that it is safe to cross.
  • Look all ways before crossing the road; making sure all drivers can see them.
  • Walk; never run, across the street.

Why are there no seat belts on a school bus?

  • Seat belts that are not correctly worn may cause injuries. Because school vehicles carry passengers from the very young to high school students, it is very difficult to make sure each child is adjusting and wearing the seat belt the correct way.
  • Seat belts on school buses would be used more often and receive more wear and tear. Their condition would have to be monitored carefully.
  • Studies using dummies have shown that using seat belts with the current school bus seating arrangement can actually increase the chance of head and neck injuries.
  • School buses are designed and built differently than passenger cars. Instead of seatbelts, school buses have:
    • Seats with high backs.
    • Seats filled with energy-absorbing material.
    • Seats placed close together to form compartments.
    • Strong seat anchorages.

Information Sources:
Ministry of Transportation of Ontario
Safe Kids Canada Child & Youth Unintentional Injury: 10 Years in Review

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