I subscribe to Google news using keywords such as "school" and "school bus". These keywords are used to pull relevant articles and then Google sends them to me via e-mail every day. The other day, there was an article that detailed a bus driver's heroic actions to save a child from choking on a piece of hard candy. The child is in 4th grade and is 10 years old, clearly old enough by some standards to handle sucking on a piece of hard candy responsibly.
Every year we go through safety training for this very reason. We learn CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver, and other ways of managing potential emergencies that arise on the school bus. None of us expect to use any of our training, but when faced with a child choking, or one having an allergic reaction or other type of emergency, we jump into action.
Parents wonder why we do not allow our students to consume food items on the buses. For one thing, it makes a mess, but the primary reason is displayed in the article above, the REAL possibility that a child could CHOKE. Parents can deny this all they want and tell us that it won't happen to their child. Thing is, this child in the article above, was a very responsible child who just happened to choke on a piece of candy which stopped her from breathing. It can happen to the most responsible of children. Choking isn't limited to candy either. Buses travel over varied terrain from dirt to paved roads, uphill and downhill, all it takes is a serious bump from the bus turning, or running over an unforeseen pothole to cause a child to inhale sharply while eating on the bus. In my district, there was a child who choked from sucking on hard candy on the bus when she was 14, so choking is a very real hazard.
Parents - the next time you ask us to make a concession for your child to eat on the bus and you get told "no" consider that we are simply looking out for your child's safety and do not want to have to perform CPR/Heimlich Maneuver to save your child because they choked on food you allowed them to bring from home and consume on the bus.
The Bus Driver