School bus injuries three times higher than thought

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: March 8th, 2007
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The wheels on the bus go round and round… to the tune of an estimated twenty-three-and-a-half million children logging four-point-three billion miles a year on school buses.

But riding the bus might not be as safe as parents think… and could even be downright dangerous.

A new Ohio study, published in the journal Pediatrics, reveals that from 2001 to 2003, more than fifty-one-thousand school bus-related injuries across the nation sent children and teenagers to the emergency room. That’s at least seventeen-thousand injuries each year.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of nonfatal school bus-related injury among American children.

Nearly half the total injuries occurred in children riding a bus that collided with another vehicle. Another quarter happened as children got on or off the bus.

Most injuries occurred during September and October. And ten- to fourteen-year-olds suffered most of them… probably because they’re more likely to ride the bus than younger or older children.

Different age groups suffered different injuries, too. More than half of all injuries to children younger than ten were to the head. Ten- to nineteen-year-olds suffered more leg or foot injuries. The highest percentage of injuries were strains and sprains. Then came bruises, cuts and scrapes. Even so, ninety-seven percent of injured kids were treated and released from the E-R.

Thanks to the study, pediatricians now recommend that all new school buses be equipped with seat belts and that at least one adult… in addition to the bus driver… supervise all school bus trips.