Posted by The Vigilant Mom on November 21, 2011
Sometimes I think I should start a support group: Overprotective Parents Anonymous. I go through so many days trying to act cool and collected on the outside while I’m freaking out on the inside. And I admit it: My name is Claudia, and I am overprotective. During flu season, I am likely to attack my children with the thermometer even if they show no symptoms. In the past, I have perhaps relied a little too heavily on Purell. I will cook a turkey into sawdust before I will feed them undercooked meat. And I will cheerfully drive two or more hours in any direction to avoid putting them on a school bus which, frankly, seem pretty rickety to me.
But parenthood, as I am learning, is all about letting go of fear. Or just learning to live with it every day so your children can turn into competent adults. And the time has come for my children to be loaded onto school buses and taken on field trips. Field trips that require a lot of time on the freeways. Because my kids are no longer toddlers, dozens of chaperones are no longer necessary, and I’m assuming the school would frown on me attempting to administer a Breathalyzer test to the bus driver before he or she leaves with my child. So I did what any other overprotective parent might do: I instantly looked into school bus safety.
It turns out that school buses are actually pretty safe. You wouldn’t think it from the way they rattle and wheeze down the road, but they are actually designed to prevent injury and avoid crashes better than other vehicles on the road. And you can make sure that your children are even safer by going over a few rules with them.
While getting on and off the bus, tell your children to stay out of the Danger Zone. The Danger Zone is the area around a bus that the driver cannot directly see. If several children are waiting for the bus, teach them to line up in front of the door, not along the side of the bus. And make sure they know to stand far back from the curb as the bus is approaching.
Make sure all backpacks and lunch bags are zipped shut and secured. If your child drops something, tell them never to reach under the bus to get it. Instead, inform the driver and ask for his or her help. Also, make sure that no straps or shoulder bags snag on the moveable parts of a bus when getting on or off. Finally, while on the bus, stay seated and listen to the driver’s instructions.
Then give your kids a big kiss, tell them to enjoy their field trip and go home and breathe into a paper bag for a few minutes. It will help.