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Tips on Asthma and School Transportation: How to Ensure Your Child's Safety

written by: Lisa Mason • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 3/25/2011

When your child has asthma, it can be scary to send them off each day to school. Asthma and school transportation is an especially frightening time for the child's parent. Here is what can be done to help ensure your child's safety.

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    Understand the Dangers

    With an estimated one out of every eleven students having asthma, it’s vital that parents know the dangers that asthma and school transportation poses. Did you know that diesel fueled school buses expose children to exhaust fumes that contain agents and carcinogens known to be responsible for causing respiratory distress? This can pose a serious problem for children that already suffer from asthma so what steps can you take to ensure your child’s safety?

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    How to Ensure Your Child’s Safety

    As parents, you need to take every precaution available to ensure your child’s safety even when he or she is not at home. One of the biggest worries parents with asthmatic children face is keeping them safe on their way to and from school. Some buses are crowded and it can be difficult for the driver to keep up with everything going on. They may not notice a child having an asthma attack and this could result in serious complications. Here are a few tips on asthma and school transportation that can help to ensure your child’s safety:

    • Discuss your child’s condition with the school so the principal can inform the driver that your child suffers from asthma. This is something they need to be aware of in the event he or she has an asthma attack on the way to or from school.
    • Find out what type of training the drivers have and if they are qualified to deal with an emergency if one should arise.
    • Teach your child how to use the inhaler correctly and double check to make sure he or she has it every day before they leave the house.
    • Make sure he or she follows a daily action plan for prevention and drinks plenty of water to stay hydrated to help reduce your child’s risks of having an attack.
    • Talk to your child’s school to find out what steps are being taken to improve the air quality on buses.

    These tips can help keep your child safer while using school transportation and help to ease your mind while they’re away from home.

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    What Officials Are Doing to Ensure Your Child’s Safety

    Officials are taking steps to ensure your child’s safety through a program called “The Clean Bus USA Program”. This program is sponsored by the EPA and it’s a national effort to help reduce the risks associated with school transportation and asthmatic children. This program involves encouraging officials to enforce policies to reduce bus idling to cut back on the amount of exhaust being emitted.

    It also involves adding pollution control devices on some of the older buses or switching to a cleaner burning fuel. In some cases, replacing the old buses that can’t be improved upon may be the only way to make a difference. Having a child with asthma can be very challenging but when you take precautions and teach your child how to be responsible, you can feel better about having a child with asthma and school transportation.

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    References

    Environment Health Science - http://enhs.umn.edu/current/5100/asthma/pollution.html

    We Act for Environmental Justice - http://www.weact.org/Programs/EnvironmentalHealthCBPR/RosaParksSchoolBusCampaign/tabid/208/Default.aspx