Bus stop safety: What parents can do to keep their kids safe

File photo - School bus (WBNS-10TV)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A lot of parents in central Ohio get up in the morning and help their children get ready for school.

As kids rush out the door to walk to their bus stop, some of them do not have the safety of a sidewalk or crosswalk.

The city of Columbus has identified areas where students have to walk in the street along curbs to avoid traffic.

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The areas were near the following schools: Independence High School, Lincoln Park Elementary School, South High School, Livingston Elementary School, Highland Elementary School, and West Broad Elementary School.

The city is still in the design phase of establishing sidewalks and crosswalks and is waiting for budget approval.

One project is already underway in the Linden area.

It's called the Safe Routes to School Project at McGuffey Road and Duxberry Avenue near Hamilton Stem Academy, Linmoor Education Center and Linden-McKinley High School.

Construction to repair sidewalks and build new sidewalks started back in November and will start back up this spring.

The work is scheduled to be completed in August.

G. Jamal Ford is the operations manager of transportation for Columbus City Schools. Prior to his current position, he spent eight to nine as a bus driver himself.

Ford told 10TV that there are some things parents can do to help keep their kids safe.

"Just keeping that type of mind awareness of what's going on around you minimizes half of the issues that students could possibly have," he said.

Ford also stressed that communication between parents and kids is important.

He suggests that kids should always be aware of their surroundings and limit their distractions. That includes if they are heading to the bus stop if their parents are driving them to school.

Students should also know to stand in the designated place where the bus driver tells them to stay.

It is important for children to know the dangers of crossing the street. Ford suggests that they should wait for their bus driver to tell them when to cross.

Parents can also help their children find the safest, most effective way to the bus stop and to school. The best practice is to avoid alleys and staying on the path in well-lit areas.

Ford said drivers should limit their distractions and use extra caution near school buses and in school zones. Together, it is a group effort.

"I think it's important that even more of us collaborate together and talk about bus safety," Ford said.