The Doctors: School Bus Safety Tips & How To Prevent Kidnappings

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The Doctors: School Bus Fire Trap

Have you seen the news video of a school bus that burst into flames? Luckily, the North Carolina bus driver’s quick thinking helped save the six students who were on board.

Reporters discovered that the school district hadn’t tested the bus in its annual random safety checks since it was purchased in 1999.

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Click here to watch the raw Bus Fire Video on YouTube.

The Doctors: School Bus Safety

A recent school bus fire has parents wondering if buses are safe for their children.

The Drs TV: Bus Driver Hero Lindora

The Doctors and the audience gave bus driver Lindora a standing ovation. She stopped the bus after noticing an usual smell coming from near the steering column.

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Lindora said she sent students to the back of the bus while she investigated, and she soon discovered smoke as well. As the smoke began to billow, she evacuated the bus in time to get everyone on board out of harm’s way.

Do School Buses Need Seat Belts?

Dr. Travis Stork cited safety statistics that find buses to be seven times as safe as other vehicles. He said part of the reason for this is they distribute the force of any impact through a larger area than a truck or car.

But incidents like this bring up the question of seat belt safety on school buses. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses don’t need seat belts.

School Bus Accident Statistics

Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears said this sounds counterintuitive, but the physics and mass of buses shield them from many of the dangers that seat belts are designed to guard against.

Only 2% of vehicle accidents involving school children occurred on buses, giving credence to the idea that it’s the safest way to get to school.

Dr. Travis mentioned a recent New Jersey bus crash in which an 11-year-old girl was killed and injured 17 other students. The bus was rammed into a pole by a dump truck in the tragic story.

How To Stay Safe On A School Bus

Dr. Jim offered tips for students to help them stay safe on buses:

  • Don’t panic.
  • Listen to the bus driver.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Exit row by row, alternating side to side.

He said that grabbing your belongings will slow you down and could prevent others from quickly exiting the bus in an emergency.

School Bus Emergencies

Lindora said she and other bus drivers make sure to explain the emergency exits and procedures to their passengers, so everyone will know what to do in an emergency.

“We put our kids in your trust, and you did an excellent job,” Dr. Lisa Masterson told Lindora. Dr. Travis also thanked the legions of bus drivers who get kids to and from school safely each day.

The Doctors: Brittney Baxter Attempted Kidnapping

The Doctors also spoke about the attempted kidnapping of a young girl. A man tried to abduct a young girl who was shopping for toys.

Police arrested 25-year-old Thomas Woods, a recently released inmate, after they identified him based on surveillance footage. This incident and others like it have parents concerned about how to protect their children.

The Drs TV: Preventing Kidnappings

One mom named Sandra said she’s worried for her young son’s safety. He has a small frame and she worries about whether he could defend himself in an abduction. The Doctors invited Sandra and her son Michael to learn some tips from former California police officer Bob Stuber, an expert author & creator of Safe Escape: 50 Ways To Prevent Abduction.

Click here to watch Safe Escape: 50 Ways To Prevent Abduction.

How Kids Can Avoid Abduction

Safety expert Bob Stuber said there are things you can do to avoid these situations, but that it’s important to be prepared for whatever could happen. He taught Michael to attract attention by making noise and knocking items off shelves if someone grabs you in a store.

If you’re outside and a car is following you, you should run in the opposite direction the suspicious car is traveling. This would require a potential abductor to turn the car around, and Bob said there’s just a 50% chance that he would so do.

Kids & Bicycle Safety

Bob Stuber mentioned that too many kids have been abducted while riding bicycles. His advice is that kids should never let go of their bikes, because it will make them harder to put into a car.

“You have to remember, these people don’t want to be noticed by anybody,” Bob said, reminding Michael to do his best to attract attention.

What To Do If You’re Abducted

“If you can stop the car, you can stop the crime,” Bob said, giving tips for what kids can do if they’re put into a strange car during a kidnapping.

He suggested yanking wires out from under the dashboard. You can try jumping in the back seat to escape out of the back car doors, in a four-door vehicle.

If you are in the trunk, pulling out the brake and tail lights will increase the chances of attracting police attention.

Parents & Kidnapping Prevention

Bob said parents have a great opportunity to teach kids how to protect themselves. “Think ahead of time, and teach your kids ahead of time,” Dr. Travis said.

Dr. Jim recommended keeping track of your child’s current height and weight, and updating snapshots of kids every six months or so. That way you’ll always have a current photo of your child in an emergency.

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