Would you let your 3-year-old ride on a school bus without a car seat? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-30-2006, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 3-year-old twins recently started going to preschool in the mornings. It is a great school, and they are really happy there, and I feel really good about it.

The school is planning a field trip for the end of July to take all the 3 and 4-year-olds to see a play that is being performed at a local high school summer program. They are planning to travel by school bus (it's probably a 5-10 minute drive depending on traffic), without car seats.

My initial reaction is "no way." I just switched my guys to forward-facing in their boulevards, and cannot imagine letting them get on a school bus without being in their car seats. I suppose I could drive them myself to the play, but I think if they saw all the other kids going on the bus, they'd be totally jealous. I'm thinking I'll just keep them home that day.

Am I being a super paranoid and over-protective mom? What would you do?

Lex

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Old 06-30-2006, 06:43 PM
 
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My ds started preschool when he was 3 through the public schools. It's a special autism preschool and he rode the bus to and from school, always in a a carseat. Some of hte kids were just in seatbelts, but ds is small for his age and i insisted on a carseat. If you are comfortable w/just seatbelts - I'd say it's ok, but they'd have to understand to not get up or unbuckle the belts.

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Old 06-30-2006, 06:46 PM
 
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I don't think you're paranoid. I don't know what I would do. I've taken DD on the city buses without a carseat. I don't think there's any way to even put one in on the city buses here. I was a little nervous but I always feel weird on the bus without a seatbelt for me either.

If you can put them in carseats and it's an option, I think I would do it.

Good luck.

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Old 06-30-2006, 06:53 PM
 
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Does the bus even have seatbelts? Most buses do not and are designed to use compartmentalization to keep children safe. Statistically buses are safer than cars.
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Old 06-30-2006, 06:54 PM
 
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Are you talking about a plain old yellow school bus that most schools use? School buses don't have seat belts in them. So you couldn't use a carseat anyway. If you are uncomfortable with them on a bus then just drive them.

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Old 06-30-2006, 06:54 PM
 
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Absolutely not. If they used a bus that had seatbelts and thus accomadated car seats, go for it, but a regular school bus? It'll be a cold day in the place that is not Heaven before I'd let my kid do that
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Old 06-30-2006, 06:56 PM
 
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I've always wondered about bus safety. Most school buses don't even have seat belts, so that's probably not an option. As I understand it, the way the seats are constructed -- high backs, close together, etc. is supposed to minimize the amount a child can move in the event of a crash. Plus the fact that a bus is very unlikely to encournter anything bigger than it is on city streets, so in a crash shouldn't be that damaged. I don't know if I believe it, but I have to think that if it weren't true and buses were unsafe, there would be an awful lot of lawsuits and such and they would change.

I would think you could do some quick internet research about school bus safety and then make a decision based on what you find, rather than blind reaction or what the rest of us think (also without the research, unless we have an expert amongst us).

For the record, I would be inclined to believe they would be safe, based on what little I know, and allow them to go. But I might also volunteer as a chaperone just so I could make sure they were always sitting in their seats!
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Old 06-30-2006, 06:58 PM
 
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Absolutely not. There is a reason carseats are the law. That goes for any vehicle moving in traffic.
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Old 06-30-2006, 07:01 PM
 
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Absolutely not. My ds is starting a preschool (special needs) this fall. He can ride the bus, but I don't think I'll let him. It does have carseats in it, so I'll consider it if I need to (driving him to and from will suck with my work bigtime) but if it didn't have carseats I'd never even consider it.

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Old 06-30-2006, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lasciate
Does the bus even have seatbelts? Most buses do not and are designed to use compartmentalization to keep children safe. Statistically buses are safer than cars.
I don't know if the bus has seatbelts. I didn't realize they made them with seatbelts (they certainly didn't have seatbelts the last time I rode on one). What is compartmentalization?

I just imagine the bus hitting a bump or stopping abruptly, and my kids going flying out of their seats.

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Old 06-30-2006, 07:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StephandOwen
Absolutely not. My ds is starting a preschool (special needs) this fall. He can ride the bus, but I don't think I'll let him. It does have carseats in it, so I'll consider it if I need to (driving him to and from will suck with my work bigtime) but if it didn't have carseats I'd never even consider it.
The smaller handicap buses that the use for the special needs preschool around here have carseats in them. The large yellow school buses don't have seat belts in them.

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Old 06-30-2006, 07:33 PM
 
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Old 06-30-2006, 07:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lexbeach
I don't know if the bus has seatbelts. I didn't realize they made them with seatbelts (they certainly didn't have seatbelts the last time I rode on one). What is compartmentalization?

I just imagine the bus hitting a bump or stopping abruptly, and my kids going flying out of their seats.

Lex
When I rode the school bus (oh, about 8 or 9 years ago) I remember one seat had a seatbelt on it. I don't remember why, but it was right behind the driver. None of the other seats had a belt. Everyone avoided that seat because it was the "uncool" seat. :

Yup, Zach'smom, that's what I meant. DS could ride a smaller bus with a carseat, but I don't think he will.

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Old 06-30-2006, 08:11 PM
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I would never let a child that young in any vehicle without a seatbelt, but that's just me. Does the bus even have seatbelts? When I was in school, only the short busses had belts. I think the big busses had, like, 2 seatbelts and that was it.
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Old 06-30-2006, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StephandOwen
When I rode the school bus (oh, about 8 or 9 years ago) I remember one seat had a seatbelt on it. I don't remember why, but it was right behind the driver. None of the other seats had a belt. Everyone avoided that seat because it was the "uncool" seat. :
Is that why no one wanted to be my friend? I never could understand why none of the other kids wanted a seatbelt. Then again, I was the 'freak' who *gasp* chatted with the bus drivers!!!

Actually, I sat in the back of the bus until one day it hit a bump and sent us flying up into the ceiling. I, of course, was the only one to get a concussion. Never sat in the back since.
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Old 06-30-2006, 08:34 PM
 
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No. Dd is just shy of three and I know she would not stay sitting down - she would be the one trying to jump off the seats :

Id drive them. Chances are there are some other moms who feel the same way.
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Old 06-30-2006, 09:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies
Is that why no one wanted to be my friend? I never could understand why none of the other kids wanted a seatbelt. Then again, I was the 'freak' who *gasp* chatted with the bus drivers!!!


We used to talk to the driver too, but ONLY after all the "cool" kids got off We were one of the last stops so we'd move up to the front a little before it was our stop

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Old 06-30-2006, 09:17 PM
 
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I would let my child go if I thought he would enjoy the play. We ride city buses all the time. Actually I don't know if I would if they were going to be on the freeway with traffic going 70 mph and up. But through the residential neighborhoods and city streets we usually ride, I'd be fine with.

I assume there would be adult supervision adequate to make sure my child followed safety rules about staying seated and such. Usually field trips have a lot of parent chaperones.

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Old 06-30-2006, 09:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lexbeach
I suppose I could drive them myself to the play, but I think if they saw all the other kids going on the bus, they'd be totally jealous. I'm thinking I'll just keep them home that day.
Aw, I wouldn't make them miss the whole field trip just because you're worried that they might be jealous that other kids got to ride the bus! It sounds like you're available to drive them (or ride on the bus with them?) yourself -- that sounds like the best option so that they don't have to miss the fun.

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Old 06-30-2006, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by limabean
Aw, I wouldn't make them miss the whole field trip just because you're worried that they might be jealous that other kids got to ride the bus! It sounds like you're available to drive them (or ride on the bus with them?) yourself -- that sounds like the best option so that they don't have to miss the fun.
Yeah, I *could* go with them, I just don't really want to, lol. I would never choose to take them to a play at this point in their development (I'm finding 3.5 to be particularly challenging), and I think mixing the school life with the home life (me) would probably only make things more difficult in regards to their behavior and my ability to "manage" it. Of course, they could surprise me and be totally great, but I don't exactly feel up to the possible challenge at the moment. The play is "sleeping beauty," not something that I would feel bad about them missing (if it was something like "free to be you and me" or a story that they are familiar with, I would probably feel slightly more inclinced to bring them). That said, if the bus situation were eliminated (i.e. if the play was being performed at their school or in walking distance), I don't think I would have a problem with them going to the play, but I would definitely choose to leave their teachers in charge (they are, of course, much "easier" for their teachers than they are for us), and leave myself out of it.

Lex

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Old 07-01-2006, 12:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Willowrose
Absolutely not. There is a reason carseats are the law. That goes for any vehicle moving in traffic.
Actually, buses, and sometimes other vehicles, are generally exempt from carseat requirements in many states. I'm not saying it's safe, but it's legal.

And like some PP's have tried to explain, buses really are safer than cars....still not as safe as using a carseat I'm sure, but fairly safe.

Personally, I'm not sure....I'd probably let them go if they were looking forward to it. If not, I'd keep them home and do something else with them.

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Old 07-01-2006, 12:45 AM
 
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You should check with the actual school bus company regarding seatbelts. I taught for 10 years and ALL of our school busses had seat belts. Perhaps it depends on the company that manufactured the bus?

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Old 07-01-2006, 12:51 AM
 
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My son's school bus has seatbelts. I feel that your kids would be MUCH safer on a school bus, regardless of the restraints used on the bus, than they would be in your car. Look up the stats on school bus accidents and see if that makes you feel any better.
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Old 07-01-2006, 01:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Willowrose
Absolutely not. There is a reason carseats are the law. That goes for any vehicle moving in traffic.

Actually, the law exempts commercial vehicles like buses and cabs from the carseat law.

I'd let my dd go and chaperone if I could.

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Old 07-01-2006, 04:47 AM
 
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Old 07-01-2006, 10:41 AM
 
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I was a school bus driver for 5 years before I had DS2. I can tell you ALL school buses CAN have seatbelts. They hook on under the seat. They can be put in or removed in a minute. Call the bus company and see if they will be willing to put a belt in so that you can install the carseat.

When I first started driving DS1 was 16 months. He rode in a belted in car seat everyday. He stayed in that seat until he was 4 and i only took him out because he figured how to get himself out anyway. DD was 3 months when I started driving and she was in a buckled in car seat as well.

I drove many field trips for pre-schools and we always put seat belts in the seats and installed the car seat. Always. And I drove a 77 passenger bus, so this wasn't just for minivans.
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Old 07-01-2006, 03:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Rowdypea
I would let my child go if I thought he would enjoy the play. We ride city buses all the time. Actually I don't know if I would if they were going to be on the freeway with traffic going 70 mph and up. But through the residential neighborhoods and city streets we usually ride, I'd be fine with.

I assume there would be adult supervision adequate to make sure my child followed safety rules about staying seated and such. Usually field trips have a lot of parent chaperones.
: I agree. My children really enjoy plays, and they think field trips are the best part of school. I'd let my child go.
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Old 07-03-2006, 11:13 PM
 
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There are a lot of things that need to addressed here.

First, buses are statistically safer than cars. They work on the basis of compartmentalization, I think someone posted a link on it. That being said, it's not designed to work on children younger or smaller than the average 4 yo. It also doesn't work if the children are not seated properly, so thinking about our 3 and 4yo, how many will sit well the whole trip? AJ wouldn't. So no, I wouldn't let your child go on the bus. If you don't feel like taking her yourself, I would make a special trip that day to do something else that is fun and exciting for her.This is pretty much the only time that not having a seatbelt is safe.

Having a lap only belt on a bus is actually worse than relying on compartmentalization. You're safe using caompartmentalization or a shoulder and lap belt combo, but not a lap only belt. There is a reason cars now have shoulder belts in the back as well and are now being made w/ shoulder belts in all seating positions.

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Old 07-04-2006, 12:22 PM
 
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If it was a matter of my preschooler riding the bus every day, I wouldn't go for it, more for the social concerns about school buses, and safety vis-a-vis the other kids.

For a field trip? Sure. But then, we recently sold our car and take subways, buses and street cars everywhere - and actually I feel much safer now than when we were driving everywhere.
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Old 07-04-2006, 01:50 PM
 
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I would be hesitant too, in that situation. I think it depends on the child's behavior. I can trust my daughter to sit in her seat and follow directions. But we have other kids in the family who would be jumping around and endangering themselves.
My daughter and I travel via bus on the highway on occasion. There are no seatbelts there. We also use the subway and commuter rails. All without seatbelts. I think that when you travel by car it's a whole different ball game, safety-wise. That's why I am fine with my kid being unrestrained in these travel situations.

But if you're not comfortable with it, that's valid. And I think you ought to drive him yourself. Don't miss out because of it! And re: your kids seeing the other kids get the bus when they don't, well, that's better than being the only kid sitting in a car seat on the school bus, I think. Not like it really matters. But the point isn't the bus ride, it's the play. So go, and have fun.
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