Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Appeal to Israeli Parents, Children and Bus Drivers

For quite some time I have battled within myself as to whether to write this article. Some unfortunate recent experiences have prompted me to write this appeal, in the hope that even one person be prevented from coming to harm, G-d forbid.

A few months ago I did a search in the key words for Accident Prevention, Disability Prevention, Road Safety and a few other titles and came up with a sad fact. Hardly anyone searches for these topics. Needless to say, there is a crucial need to become informed regarding these topics. As I have mentioned in other articles, Rambam (Maimonedes) teaches that the best approach to medicine and health is prevention.

Let us turn our attention now to a very important aspect of daily life in Israel, traveling on buses.

Firstly I would like to point out that there is a legal limit of the number of passengers who are permitted to stand on the bus. Once seats have filled up, there is a limit, I think of 10 standing passengers. Once those standing exceeds this limit it is legally a problem for more passengers to get onto the bus. This means the bus drivers must not allow further passengers onto buses and passengers must wait for the next bus. If need be, ask the driver to notify egged or other bus services to put on more buses.

How does this affect us? First and foremost, we as human beings need air to breathe and to survive. If there are too many passengers the air can not circulate and this can be dangerous, G-d forbid. In addition, when passengers need to get off the bus, they need space to move. If the bus is too full, either they are injured or bruised in trying to get off the bus or the driver can not see all doors and is at risk of closing a door on a passenger. I know of and have seen several of these incidents. It does not need to happen if we each respect one another enough to make sure we do not over-crowd our buses.

Still in the area of appealing to the bus drivers. Please, take care to drive slowly when approaching pedestrian crossings, other crossings or going over speed bumps. It might be fun for a driver to jump over the bumps at a speed, however there are passengers on board. The impact of falling hard after going too fast over a speed bump could be a problem for a woman who is expecting, someone with a back problem, anyone prone to dizziness, someone with blocked ears or a head ache and a whole host of other potential difficulties. It only takes a few seconds to slow down, please respect your passengers by going slowly over speed bumps.

The next area that requires highlighting is that of children on buses. In private cars one can and has to place a car seat for infants and small children to sit in safely. In the buses, these car seats do not exist, but it does not mean young children no longer need to be protected. On the contrary, more care is needed. Please Moms and Dads make sure your baby or child is seated and held closely to prevent any accident, G-d forbid.

This means either sitting on the lap of an adult or parent or next to and sitting still and quietly. Standing on the seats, jumping up and down, running up and down the aisle, kneeling on the seat and even playing with items in their mouths such as ice-creams sticks are all potential dangers.

Our children are precious. Not only are they our flesh and blood and the future generation but they are the ones we placed as our witnesses that we would fulfill the Torah. Please respect them by guiding and protecting them on buses.

If the bus is forced to stop suddenly, a child who is not sitting correctly and being watched by his / her parent is at risk of falling and being injured. I have already seen this happen. More than that, I have worked in hospitals treating poly-trauma cases and it is quite heart breaking to listen to the tears of parents, loved ones or friends. Dont wait to cry "WHY?" Rather put your effort into preventing a problem from happening.

Please, although there has been tremendous progress in rehabilitation equipment and techniques, don't rely on rehabilitation. Do all you can to take care of your precious children and daven to Hashem to assist you. There are already children needlessly in hospitals instead of playing, growing and learning Torah.

For the children, I don't expect them to be reading this, but perhaps relatives and parents will pass on the message, please listen to your Mommies and Daddies and sit quitely on the buses.

Buses are not play grounds. I know and appreciate that children need to run around, jump, skip, climb, throw ball etc, but do this in the park, not on the bus or in a car.

For those parents who have difficulty controlling your child, a wonderful technique to learn is infant massage. You can begin even when the baby is in the womb and techniques can be adapted as the child grows. By massaging a foot or back or tummy, you can help your child to sit quietly. Or take with you stories of the Tzaddikim. There are many wonderful, short stories available in all stores in Israel. They are nicely covered in plastic and light to fit in your hand bag or back pack. Read with your child some of these wonderful stories and you will inspire them while helping them to sit quietly. Very probably by concentrating on Tzaddikim, the Tzaddikim will also intervene in Shamayim to protect our precious children.

If you would like to learn more about infant massage or have other questions, please email Shoshanah or contact her via her website. I look forward to seeing children behaving like princes and princesses of the King, sitting quietly and involved in Torah. Leave your play for the play ground and in the merit of taking care on our buses, may Hashem protect all Jews, especially on the Israeli buses.

A last note to parents and adults, you are important too. Just as our children need to be protected, take care of yourselves too, especially on public transport.

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