Do you allow you kids to ride a school bus? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I mean assuming that they don't ride one everyday to school.
So far for my DDs JK class has taken 2 bus trips a good distance from the school for class trips. Both times I have driven her because I don't want her on the road without a 5 pt harness.
Just curious what others views on this are.
BTW these kids are 4-5 yo.

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#2 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 10:38 AM
 
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She's probably safer in a school bus (which is designed to keep kids safe without seatbelts) than in your car in a 5pt harness. The bus keeps kids safe using compartmentalization - the tall padded seats protect the child in an impact. Also, busses are less likely to get in an accident in the first place (being big and yellow helps, also they're driven by professionals). And due to sheer size, a school bus is unlikely to be significantly damaged in a crash.

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#3 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 11:00 AM
 
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AJ rode the bus first at 5yo, he was 45# though. In pre-k here the schools require harnessed seats so at 4 he used those and so will Evan this year. I think technically compartmentalization is supposed to be for kids 4yo and 40# and up.

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#4 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 11:09 AM
 
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Yeah - short of a school bus falling off a cliff, they're really incredibly safe - even though it's still unnerving for me to think about her being all willy nilly in the bus.

In fact, a couple miles from our house a stopped school bus on a county highway was hit at 55mph by a MACK truck and nobody died. One little boy was even exiting the bus and was thrown, but he was thankfully okay. (and the bus didn't even flip!) That's not to say in this worst case scenerio that some kids weren't seriously injured - they were, but everyone is fully recovered. Just can't think of a bus accident much worse than that..so that makes me feel better.

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#5 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=TheGirls;13906859] also they're driven by professionals.
The thing is that I could take a week long or so course here and become a professional bus driver. They require a medical and a crimal record check.
We had some pretty scary bus drivers when I was in school including one who lost it on ice and sent the bus sliding sideways down the road.
Glad to hear that they are safe but lets just say I am glad DDs school is close walking distance.

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#6 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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DS started riding the special ed bus every day to special needs preschool at age 5. I had no problem with it, and will have no problem with DD riding the bus when she starts K either.

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#7 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 11:50 AM
 
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My DD's day care had a field trip when she was just shy of 2. Everyone went on the bus, except her. I drove her . I can not understand how they would manage a bunch of 2-4 y/o on a bus, keeping everyone seated and such, w/o seatbelts of any kind. I did ask, there weren't any. I guess it is a Wisconsin thing.

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#8 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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I'd rather see my kids on a school bus than in a car.
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#9 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 12:06 PM
 
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I agree that buses are safer then cars, I wouldn't have an issue with my kids riding a bus. When I was a teen, the school bus I was on got ran off the highway going 55-60 by a semi. No one was injured, oddly enough the truck that the semi truck plowed into was driven by my father going to work, and his truck didn't fare so much (he survived).

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#10 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 12:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TheGirls View Post
She's probably safer in a school bus (which is designed to keep kids safe without seatbelts) than in your car in a 5pt harness. The bus keeps kids safe using compartmentalization - the tall padded seats protect the child in an impact. Also, busses are less likely to get in an accident in the first place (being big and yellow helps, also they're driven by professionals). And due to sheer size, a school bus is unlikely to be significantly damaged in a crash.
School bus drivers where I grew up were nuts....seriously. Why on earth would anyone trust someone to drive well just b/c they completed a course? Some of our bus drivers were quite obviously on drugs and drove very dangerously when I was in school. I've seen videos of kids being thrown into the air on buses and I've personally seen bus drivers drive off with children standing up looking for a seat. The seats are designed to be safe for children sitting down but I can remember plenty of kids standing up on the bus or kneeling in the seats. There were also many many times that all the kids from my bus had to ride on another bus to get home and we didn't fit. Some kids had to sit in other's laps or squat or perch on the edge of the seats. So to answer the OP, I would NEVER let my children on a bus, I don't care if it's bigger and bright and driven by a "professional."

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#11 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 12:38 PM
 
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I don't have any kids, and I doubt my dog or cat are going to need to ride a bus anytime soon.

But, when we were little we never ever ever rode a bus to and from school because of the lack of seat belts. My parents are very big on seat belts (as am I, as a result).

But we were allowed to ride them on field trips, because my parents both worked and couldn't have taken us on all of the many field trips, and even if they could, wouldn't have wanted to single us out like that (I was already a weirdo, would've been horrible to me to make me even weirder!).

But in general we never did, and I had been planning to do the same thing with my kids. But now you guys have given me something else to research. I'd never even considered that busses were safer than cars!

But then the PP has a point with the idea that kids don't always behave properly.

What to do, what to do!?

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#12 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 12:41 PM
 
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Sure they ride the bus. They are much more likely to be in an accident with me (I average about 1 serious accident per year - my fault about 50% of the time)

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#13 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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Luckily we live within walking distance of our school (which I adore btw) but when they've gone on field trips to the pumpkin patch etc. I go with and will ride the bus.
I grew up riding on the bus alot and am still alive. (I'm talking four years one hour and a half each way to a magnet school in L.A. on freeways and such.)
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#14 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 12:47 PM
 
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No, I make her walk a couple of miles and cross a busy street by herself to get to school.

LOL I kid.

Yeah she rides the bus! It's safer than me driving her and it's safer than walking.
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#15 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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field trips with their class-yes, to school every day with k-5th graders-no...

I think busses are safer than cars, so not having a seatbelt doesn't bother me (and in ann arbor kids under 30lbs were put into a zip harness on the bus, since my daughter was 29lbs at 5, she would be harnessed for field trips) but I remember the stuff I learned on the school bus, from just words I had no reason to hear to dropping acid for the first time (this was pre-school-12th grade on the bus) and I don't want my kids exposed to that yet. But, it doesn't matter, cause my kids both go to focus schools (different ones) and bussing isn't provided for going to and from school.

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#16 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 01:24 PM
 
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Yes, my kids can ride the bus.

I'm an attorney and about 5 years ago I represented a school bus company in an accident case. A mini-van hit the side of the bus doing about 60. 5 people in the mini-van died. The kids on the bus were jostled around and had a few bumps and red marks. The kids weren't belted in. They were checked out at the hospital and sent home. None of the kids had permanent injuries or even much soreness the next day.
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#17 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 01:48 PM
 
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I didn't read any other responses so I am sure I am repeating others but yes, they ride the bus and I am confident that it's safer than me driving them every day (especially with my driving record )

Their school is 2 miles away, you can get there almost entirely by dirt road (except crossing one paved street), the bus goes slowly, and is able to bypass the whole drop-off, pick-up circle madness in the school parking lot (which, to me looks dangerous despite the staff in orange directing traffic).

I am very, very, very grateful my kids ride the bus, it picks them up from the corner of out street and it means I don't have to get myself and the 2 LO's ready to take them. They love it and have never complained. In fact, a couple times when we at the school for various events and were ready to drive the kids home my DD got upset and begged to ride the bus.

If I ever felt they were in any danger, or unhappy with the situation I would drive them, but for now I LOVE that there is a busing option.

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#18 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 01:56 PM
 
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Never.

I'm way nervous about it. First, I don't think school bus drivers are necessarily safe drivers at all. Every single year in our smallish city, at the beginning of the year, quite a few of the youngest kids get dropped off at the wrong stop, in the wrong gated community, etc. It's not even always in the news but I have a few friends who are or have been teachers here, and oh, the stories I have heard. The principals never seem to really care about 5 year olds being lost for an hour, because they were dropped off in the wrong community, entirely.

Next, at least once a year in this county and the neighboring county, a bus driver or two is arrested for sexual assault or molestation on the child(ren) on their buses. I do NOT trust strangers to have such control over my young children, no way!

And yeah, all of those hidden camera videos of what sometimes goes on on buses is enough to scare the heck out of me.
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#19 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 03:22 PM
 
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I drove my DD too and from school this past year but if they did a field trip I did allow the bus ride. They do have harness on it though. Next year I'm considering letting her ride the bus to school in the mornings.

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#20 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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I was a bus driver when I worked for a preschool (I was only licensed to drive the shorter buses that we had, not the huge ones). There's a bit of controversy about seat belts on buses though. The seats themselves are very effective at keeping children safe in a crash, but the children have to be SEATED correctly. Since we were driving preschoolers (3-4 year olds), we did have belts on our buses. It was the only way to keep the children sitting correctly in their seats. But then there is the issue of an emergency, and having to likely use a belt cutter to get children out quickly who cannot unbuckle themselves...

Now that I'm a parent myself, I totally understand not trusting the driver who is a stranger. While there is a bit more involved than "a week long course", and the buses themselves are VERY safe to ride in, I'd be more worried about knowing who was responsible for my child during that time. Like someone else mentioned... young children being let off at different stops... bus drivers who abused children, etc... I'm sure (well rather, I HOPE) these things aren't common but those would concern me a lot more than the actual safety of the transportation itself.

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#21 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 03:47 PM
 
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ohh yea, and I don't trust bus drivers in general, but I do trust my kids teachers, and they are on the bus with the kids for field trips, along with multiple parent chaperones.

Jillian wife to Ryan and mommy to Janelle Ashlynn (9/09/2002), Kincaid Chance (3/29/2004), Travis Neil (8/13/2007) and River Anderson (5/02/2009).
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#22 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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My older dd is almost 11, she has ridden on a bus to and from school since 1st grade. No seat belts. My little one is 4, and has had his own carseat on the bus, which I installed. I felt ok w/that. I completely understand why people get skeeved out by busses, but ime the drivers have been amazing - they care about the kids, they are switched on, and they do a great job. We get the bus drivers gifts equal to those of the teachers. She loves the bus, though perhaps she would like it better if I drove her both ways - 25 min each way it's not happening. I think you have to make the right decision for yourself, given how your own circumstances play out.

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#23 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess even if not for the bus I woudn't allow her to go on a field trip without me anyways.
I thought I was maybe just being paraniod, but on the recent class trip I went it was confirmed for me.
All of the parent volunteers were given 2-3 kids to take around the zoo on our own.
Some of the things that I witnessed these 4 and 5 Yo doing while they were supposedly being supervised was downright scary to me.

Also I am curious as to what kind of training the PP had to take to drive a bus. I would imagine it varies greatly. My understanding of it here is that they take a week long course through the bus companies and take a driving test to get thier licince to drive that class of vehicle.

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#24 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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Also I am curious as to what kind of training the PP had to take to drive a bus. I would imagine it varies greatly. My understanding of it here is that they take a week long course through the bus companies and take a driving test to get thier licince to drive that class of vehicle.
If I remember correctly (it was a few years ago), I had to have an initial physical and drug test. Then a 2-day training through the state, along with a written test to get my "permit". Once I had that, I had to train with an instructor for a certain amount of hours... I can't remember how many. But I had to document X hrs of riding with him and X hours of driving with him. And he taught me all about the bus, how to do inspections, everything I'd need for the test. Then once you pass the actual driving test, you still have to do yearly safety trainings through the state. As well as yearly physicals and drug tests (I believe the drug tests may have been required by our agency and not the state? I can't remember.) But it wasn't like you could just decide to be a bus driver & a week later be driving kids around. At least not from my experience This was in Indiana.

(And our agency also held extra safety meetings & trainings once a month for the bus drivers - though obviously that's not required and I don't know how public schools do it.)

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#25 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 07:56 PM
 
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Absolutely.

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#26 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 09:56 PM
 
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Just out of curiosity -- how common are seatbelts on school buses? I always thought school buses never had them, but I'm not sure.

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#27 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 11:44 PM
 
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My DD will start riding the bus in the fall. Buses are the safest mode of transportation on the road. Period. You are WAY more likely to get into a crash than your child is to be on a bus. Now, preschoolers, short buses, etc. is another story. There is more that goes into that discussion. School-agers? No debate, buses are the safest option. It's getting ON and OFF the bus that you have to be careful of!

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#28 of 80 Old 06-09-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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I wouldn't but mostly because I have a personal thing against them. I fell asleep and got left on one as a little girl.

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#29 of 80 Old 06-10-2009, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If I remember correctly (it was a few years ago), I had to have an initial physical and drug test. Then a 2-day training through the state, along with a written test to get my "permit". Once I had that, I had to train with an instructor for a certain amount of hours... I can't remember how many. But I had to document X hrs of riding with him and X hours of driving with him. And he taught me all about the bus, how to do inspections, everything I'd need for the test. Then once you pass the actual driving test, you still have to do yearly safety trainings through the state. As well as yearly physicals and drug tests (I believe the drug tests may have been required by our agency and not the state? I can't remember.) But it wasn't like you could just decide to be a bus driver & a week later be driving kids around. At least not from my experience This was in Indiana.

(And our agency also held extra safety meetings & trainings once a month for the bus drivers - though obviously that's not required and I don't know how public schools do it.)
No you are right, you can't decide to be a bus driver and the next week be driving kids around. Before you do any training you have to do a criminal record check and a physical ( no drug test) they have a whole new crop of drivers start every year because its not exactly a great paying job most people stay with. They do training with them all at the same time.
Pretty much if you don't have a criminal record and you pass you can drive a school bus.

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#30 of 80 Old 06-10-2009, 01:08 PM
 
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My Dh took a week long class and can now drive a semi. Other people learn to drive semis w/out taking classes and they're on the road all the time w/ us. Whether it's a week long or a month long, there is a class and tests they have to pass. What kinds of things would you like them to go through? My DH doesn't drive a semi now, but can drive a trash truck and does every once in a while when he's short a driver, but he has to go to a yearly physical and drug test and he's subjected to random drug tests through the year. If he ever gets caught going over the speed limit 15 or mo mph, even in his own vehicle, he loses his CDL and his job. People who are responsible and need these jobs aren't going to screw up, sadly like any other job there are screwed up people. My grandfather drove the handicapped bus after he retired from teaching, he loved it.

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