Every year hundreds of children are injured in school bus related incidents and accidents, and some are injured fatally.

While school buses are designed to keep passengers safe while on the road, many accidents happen when students are entering or exiting the bus. The unfortunate fact is that mistakes happen and a brief moment of distraction or lack of awareness can lead to devastating tragedy.

If your child rides the school bus every day, that’s nearly 400 annual trips to and from school and school events. If you have two or more children who ride different buses, that is 800+ trips on a bus every year. Here are five important safety tips you should know and share with your children if they ride the school bus.

1. Arrive to the stop early.
If your child arrives at the stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive, it can reduce last minute rushing and scrambling which can lead to accidents.

2. Stand back from the curb.
Students (and parents) should stand about six feet away from the curb while waiting for the bus. You can let your children know this is about three giant steps.

3. Remain visible to the bus driver.
Make your children know the importance of staying within eyesight of the bus driver. If they can’t see the driver, the driver probably can’t see them. Students should never cross the street behind a bus. If they need to cross the street in front of the bus, make sure they walk at least 10 feet ahead of the bus before crossing.

4. Hold belongings tight.
If your children carry backpacks or bags to school, remind them to hold on tightly to their belongings when entering and exiting the bus so they don’t fall or catch on handrails. If they drop something near or under the bus, they should alert the bus driver instead of retrieving the item themselves.

5. Stay seated and quiet while the bus is in motion.
Loud noises, movement, shifting belongings and disruptions can cause the bus driver to become distracted while driving. Talk with your children about their behavior and the behavior of their peers while riding the school bus and reinforce positive habits.

Children face risks each time they enter or exit a school bus. Following these five tips can keep them safer and give parents and guardians peace of mind.

For more information about school bus safety, follow Bus Kids Safe on Instagram at @buskidssafe.