Bus Safety Tips for Extreme Heat
There's no way around it, the Alabama summer heat is intense, and when humidity is high, the combination can be downright brutal. While these conditions are not ideal, Autauga County Schools is working to keep students and drivers safe until temperatures begin to trend cooler as fall weather approaches.
In a call out to all bus drivers earlier this week, ACS' Transportation Supervisor Neil Messick reminded employees that per the Alabama State Department of Education's newest Pupil Transportation memo, "bus drivers may allow students to bring bottled water on the bus. Drivers may also carry small coolers with ice and rags as long as they are secure and do not block the bus aisle." Messick added that "all bus windows should be down and both roof hatches vented to allow air to circulate during the afternoon routes." In addition to these safety protocols, please discuss the district's top tips for keeping cool on the school bus with your children during the next few weeks.
Staying hydrated is important throughout the year, but it's especially crucial during the hottest months. The human body works extra hard to regulate temperature when in hot conditions, which leads to dehydration more quickly than normal. To avoid dehydration, encourage your children to drink plenty of water throughout the day and pack an extra water bottle for afternoon bus routes. You may freeze this bottle of water for your children to use as a cooling agent or to drink on the ride home.
Wear Breathable Clothing
While some classes are chilly during the day, the bus is guaranteed to be hot. Please ensure your children dress in light, breathable clothing for the school day (packing a jacket if needed), but encourage them to remove any outerwear before getting on the bus after school. Heavy clothing heats up the body quickly and takes even longer to cool back down when the body is already overheated.
Use a Handheld Fan
Students are encouraged to pack a manual or battery-powered personal fan as one of the best ways to keep cool while riding home from school. Not only will this help your child stay cool, but it also helps circulate the air around them, creating a breeze.
Avoid Dehydrating Liquids
Water is not everyone's favorite drink, but it is essential to fuel the body properly! Crowd favorites such as tea, coffee, and caffeinated soft drinks can actually hurt more than help during extreme heat. Even hours after consumption, these drinks dehydrate the body, making for more uncomfortable rides home on the school bus.
Avoid Electronics Usage
Unplug! Students are encouraged to power off or put electronic devices in standby mode while traveling on the school bus to avoid generating extra heat. When powered on, electronic devices put off phantom power, which puts off heat even when not in use.
Avoid Sugary & Salty Foods
As tempting as it is to pack your child's favorite snacks in their lunchbox, please avoid sugary and salty items during this time of year. Large amounts of these ingredients dry out the body quickly, leaving little hydration to properly fuel the body.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child's bus route, contact Neil Messick, Transportation Supervisor.