MU Extension MU Extension       University of Missouri    ●    Columbia    ●    Kansas City       Missouri S&T     ●    St. Louis - Adults and Children - Adolescents


Feature Article


Children waiting to board school busParents should teach kids safety for return to school


As kids head back to school, parents should do some homework of their own to make sure the new school year is safe on several fronts.


School buses and some school rooms are not air conditioned. Karen Funkenbusch, University of Missouri Extension safety specialist, offers the following tips to make sure your child stays cool.


  • Young children should wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing that breathes.
  • They should carry school-approved water bottles and wear comfortable shoes where they may have to walk over hot surfaces.


In addition to safeguards from the heat, younger children should be taught the importance of safety rules concerning travel on school buses, she said.


Many of the 22 million school children nationwide will ride school buses, some for the first time. The National Safety Council reports that more than 9,000 injuries involving school buses occur each year, resulting in about 25 deaths. Most of these injuries do not occur in crashes, but as students enter and exit school buses, she said. Funkenbusch provides the following safety guidelines:


  • Children should be told to stay away from traffic, avoid roughhousing and line up at least six feet from the curb.
  • Children should wait until the school bus stops and opens the doors before stepping onto the roadway.
  • Children should find a seat and sit down and avoid loud talking or noise that could distract the driver.
  • In getting off the bus, children should walk along the side of the road or on the sidewalk to a point at least 10 feet in front of the bus if they must cross the street. They should be sure that the bus driver can see them and signals it is okay to cross. Children should never walk behind the bus.


“As most parents know, their young children should also be schooled in avoiding contact with strangers and not be fooled by a stranger’s friendliness,” Funkenbusch said. Here are some important safety rules to review and discuss with your children.


  • Children should be taught never to talk to strangers, take a ride with a stranger or accept anything like candy or money from someone they do not know.
  • They should be taught that they never give a stranger their name and if a stranger bothers them, to run in the opposite direction and tell their parents immediately.
  • Kids that are home alone after school should know to keep doors shut and locked and never answer the door or phone for a stranger.


“These are common sense tips to adults, but many children can get caught up in the excitement of a new routine, so it is good for parents to instruct them,” Funkenbusch said. Preparing for the school year is the perfect time to teach these safety tips to young children and to review them with older children.


University of Missouri logo links to

Site Administrator:
Copyright  ADA  Equal Opportunity

MissouriFamilies is produced by the College of Human Environmental Sciences,
Extension Division, University of Missouri

Last Updated 08/16/2017