Primary school has the sweetest memories for most people. And so it does for me too. It is the time when school work is not too demanding, and kids aren't thinking too much about grades or careers.
I went to school in a cycle rickshaw or tuk tuk which was pulled by a man. It may sound unusual in these times when the yellow bus is seen everywhere, but it was pretty common when I was growing up. The rickshaw wala was God to us kids, almost like a pseudo parent out of the house. He took care of us, made us laugh but always had an eye out for our safety. He scolded us when our mischief got out of hand. And we listened because we knew he was looking out for us. Our parents had made it clear that 'rickshaw wale uncle' was in charge in their absence, and we had to listen to what he said.
The other day I was driving to lunch, following a van full of school kids. They were banging on the glass, making faces and smiling. The van would swerve along with the winding road, and the kids would smash into each other. People on two wheelers and in cars were waving back at the cute kids. Little did they realize their actions went against the basics of school bus safety for kids.
Someone really needs to create awareness around safe travel for school kids, I thought. Maybe provide school bus safety training. My mom, who's conducted many safety trainings through her career seemed to read my mind and said the same thing. We agreed that both parents and school staff needed to be educated on how to keep kids safe, not only on the school bus but also around it.
And then I heard about the school bus safety program initiative from Tata Motors. There is an interactive website with a wealth of information, and also fun games like quizzes and jigsaw puzzles through which you can learn the Dos and Don'ts around school bus safety for kids. With 300+ sessions conducted in 41 cities, and 15000+ school bus staff trained, Tata Motors has certainly proven they are serious about the cause of school bus safety.
Parents, you need to do your bit. Parents have a big role in ensuring the safety of children while traveling to school. As the grown up in the family, we need to set the right example. Start following traffic rules and safety guidelines, and teach kids to respect elders, especially bus attendants and school staff.
The HBKBH website has a quiz which parents can take. And kids will fall in love with The Yellow Bus Story. Palak and Harry are set to become as popular as Chintoo. I remember how I worshipped Supandi and Shikari Shambhoo as a child. The comic series is surely an effective way to engage kids and teach them bus safety. Yes, PB or Peeli Bus is their best friend if they treat her right.
Safe travel training can be most effective when children listen to the staff and do what they are told. Parents need to play an active role to make sure their kids behave properly.
Do your bit as a responsible parent - go take the safe travel pledge.
After all, when it comes to your child, safety rules.