School Safety: Going To and From School

With school back in session soon, it’s important to sit down with your child and go over ways they can remain safe when traveling to and from school. Does your child travel to and from school by bus, by vehicle, by bicycle or by foot? Safety tips for each type of transportation are outlined below.

School Bus

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are the safest vehicles on the road, but the part that is most dangerous is when children get on and off the bus.

  • Always have your child walk to and from the bus stop with a family member or friend – avoid having him or her go alone.
  • To avoid being in a hurry, allow your child enough time to arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes early.
  • If your child needs to cross the street to get to the bus stop, teach them to always look left, right, then left again before crossing.
  • Your child should not go toward the bus until it has completely stopped, its door is open and its safety lights are flashing.
  • Tell your child to stay within the bus driver’s view at all times, and only walk in front of the bus – not behind it.
  • If your child ever happens to drop something by the bus, remind him or her to tell the driver first before picking it up.
  • Tell your child to respect the driver and follow the rules: never move around on the bus, remain seated, do not stick anything out of the windows and speak quietly so the driver can focus.


If you have teenagers, chances are they will want to either drive to school or ride along with a sibling or friend. This is the least safe way for your child to get to school, so it’s important that you set strict rules with your teenagers to keep them and other drivers on the road safe.

  • Pennsylvania has a young driver’s law. Review "What You Need To Know About Pennsylvania’s Young Driver Law" and make sure your teen is following the law.
  • Discourage your teenagers from driving others to school, or riding with a teen driver, until six months after they received their driver’s license.
  • A seatbelt should be worn at all times. Remind your child that there are no exceptions to this rule.
  • Your teen should not be distracted while driving. Insist on never texting while driving, and music shouldn’t be played at a loud level.
  • To fully enforce safe driving rules, consider creating a written agreement with your teen. View an example of a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Riding a bicycle to school has great health benefits, but your child needs to follow the below tips to stay safe:

  • Make sure your child has a helmet that is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and that it is worn every time he or she rides their bike, no matter the distance.
  • Allow your child to ride preferably when it is light outside, and have him or her wear brightly colored or reflective clothing when possible to make them most visible.
  • Teach your child to routinely check the bike’s condition, paying attention to the tires, seat, brakes and handlebar height.
  • Reinforce the basic rules of the road: stop and look both ways before crossing the street, stop at all intersections and use hand signals when turning.
  • Children up to age 9 should never ride on the street and should have adult supervision.

On Foot

If your child has a safe, close route to school, walking is a good option, as it offers many health benefits.

  • Make sure your child has the necessary skills to walk safely to school, such as staying focused on getting to school on time and being alert to traffic dangers.
  • Before taking your child along, walk the route first to ensure it is free of hazards, has good visibility, pedestrian room at a safe distance from traffic and doesn’t have any dangerous crossings. A well-trained crossing guard should be at every intersection.
  • Have your child walk to school with a family member or friend(s) – avoid having him or her walk alone.
  • Your child should dress in brightly colored clothing when possible.
  • Have a backup transportation plan when there is bad weather. Make sure your child is prepared for changing conditions, such as wearing warm clothing if walking in cold weather or having a water bottle when walking in hot weather.