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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    Most of the time Justin rides in my car, and once in a while in my husband's truck. But about once a month, he goes to a friend's house for the day. She has a carseat with a 40lb. harness limit like I have, so she uses that for him. Since he will be outgrowing this soon, and I don't want to buy another expensive seat and don't expect her to, is it safe to remove the seat from my car and re-install it in hers when she has him. I know this is probably a silly question, but the one we have has hardly ever been moved in the past 3 years we've had it so I was wondering how safe it is to do that on a regular basis.

    Also, he will be starting preschool this year, and they have class trips on buses periodically. Do school buses require car seats, and if not is it possible to use one anyway? Is there a way to install one? He will be 4 years old in October. How do you all handle this with preschoolers going on school buses?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Mama2J; 01-08-2008 at 01:20 PM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Community Member broken4u05's Avatar
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    I move my seats around all the time. It can be a pain in the a$$ but it can be done. I am a nanny to twins and than i have my 3 godchildren only 1 of them can be shared by them so i have to move the seats every weekend almost.
    So yes it can be done but it is a question of if you will want to do it
    Kristina- Nanny to Jack and Drew now 3 years old Not a mother yet.

  4. #3
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    School buses do not protect children under 5-6 years old as they are too small for compartmentalization (which is what protects adults and larger kids) to be effective.
    For a child over 4 AND over 40 lbs, a high-back booster is acceptible, although I don't like seeing a child under 5 boostered when there is an alternative. What about getting an Apex (as long as she has headrests)? It will harness your son to 65 lbs then be a booster, and it's about the same price as a Britax Parkway. Yes, the PW is a nicer booster, but for occasional use it won't be that big a deal.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

  5. #4
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    It's not a big deal to swap car seats. The concern with moving the seat is that it is reinstalled correctly each time it is moved.

    I'm wondering though, if Justin is soon to hit the #40 limit, how lending your (also #40 limit) seat will help? Or is he outgrowing it by height and your's has a higher harness height?

    He is very close to the 4 & 40 minimum for booster use. If he is relatively mature, I'd consider a high back booster BUT only if the vehicle he's riding in has lap/shoulder belts where he will be sitting. If he's still got a few pounds B4 40 pounds, a combination seat (harnessed seat that converts to a booster) would be a good choice and they generally have higher harness height than a convertible seat. [There are several threads that discuss which combos make good boosters.]

    As far as riding on the bus, it depends: on your state and the school. Some states require seatbelts on buses, others do not. The size of the bus also sometimes affects the seat belt regulations, with bigger buses less likely to have seat belts (at least in ALL seating positions).

    New buses usually have seat belts, but most DO NOT have lap/shoulder belts soa booster would not be an option.

    FYI: The conventional wisdom of bus transport safety is that the high/narrow seats and seatbacks "contain" or "compartmentalize" the passenger in a crash and therefore seat belts are not needed. There's also the concept that seatbelts make for more work for the bus driver - needing to check all the passengers. . .assist in buckling, etc.

    Another option for bus restraint is an "E-Z on Vest" which is usually used for special education students who need additional restraint for physical disabilities or behavioral concerns. www.ezonpro.com

    Questions to ask:

    Is the school using true buses or vans?
    What seat belt systems are in the vehicles?
    What is the school's policy for CR use? Do they have seats or are they only used if the parent provides one?

    HTH

  6. #5
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    Will he be on a bus with seatbelts? Lapbelts, or lap/shoulderbelts?

    Where we live, big buses don't have seatbelts at all, and small buses only have lapbelts. Preschoolers must use the small buses, the ones under 40 pounds must use a harnessed carseat or some of the seats have flip-down STAR harnesses built in. The ones over 40 pounds sit in just a lapbelt.

    Once kids are 5+ and in kindergarten they ride big buses, with no seatbelts. Compartmentalization coupled with the size and color of buses make them statistically much safer than other vehicles, but I admit I still worry when my daughter rides the bus.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  7. #6
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    As far as the bus: I never let me preschooler ride on a bus. I followed the bus and drove her. As mentioned above, she was just too small to be safe on a bus. Last month was the first time I let her ride on a bus - at about 42 pounds or so. I felt terribly nervous about it, but she did fine!
    Nancy, mommy to:
    Emma (04/2001) and John (09/2004)
    3 Radians FF across the back of my Camry

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    Thanks for your responses! I should have mentioned, that because he is outgrowing his seat soon, I will be buying a higher-weight harnessed seat. So that is the seat I would be re-installing in her van. Hopefully a Regent if I can get one. I'm also getting a new seat for my husband's truck, so I don't want to buy a third one if I don't have to.

    I'd rather he not be in a booster seat at all at this age, even occasionally, so I will have to talk with the school and see if they will let me bring his seat to use on the bus. They do use small buses, so I guess it depends whether there is a seat belt to install it.

  9. #8
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    There *should* be at least lapbelts on the small bus. The Regent requires a top tether after 50 pounds, and the recline bar is required for a lapbelt-only install. I have not had good luck with lapbelt-only installs with this seat...just something to be aware of. I know others have had fine times using just the lapbelt. I don't think buses have top tethers, but it is acceptable to tether to a seatbelt directly behind the seat the Regent is installed on. Not sure if it would be a fight or not getting the bus driver to allow you to do that, though, it makes that seat unuseable for a passenger.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  10. #9
    CPS Fanatic mominabigtruck's Avatar
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    Hmm, I don't know if I would feel comfortable having to uninstall and reinstall my husky all the time. Not that I don't get a good fit, but it usually takes me a little bit of wiggling and manuvering to get a good fit. If you feel that you have the time and the patience to reinstall the regent every time then I guess that's a personal decision. My 4.5yo is 45lbs and rides in a husky in my car but in a compass folding booster in other peoples. We talk about it whenever we're in the car and he knows that it is not acceptable for him to mess with his seatbelt and I've never had a problem, ocassionally I'll have to tell him to sit up but that's it.
    If it seems like I'm not making sense, it's probably just my phone

  11. #10
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    Our child care takes kids who are two and up on field trips on their school bus. It is a regular yellow bus, but it has lap belts. Parents are required to provide carseats for kids under 40 lbs. I have used a Marathon on that bus when my older daughter was over 40 lbs, but I was a little concerned because I wasn't sure what the belts were rated for. Now, because she's outgrown a MA, she rides with the belt alone. I'm not crazy about it, but I know how safe school buses are, so I try not to worry about it. Also, either DH or I has gone on every field trip, so we know that they are careful about buckling them in.
    DD#1 (7 y, 5 mo, 54 in, 68 lbs ) Clek Olli
    DD#2 (4 y, 2 months, 43 in, 42 lbs) Britax Marathon

  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    Maybe as he gets older, I will feel comfortable about him being in a booster or seat belt on the bus. I just had a feeling that this fall will be too soon for that, so wanted to find out what my options are. Thanks for the info on installing the Regent too. Hopefully I will be able to go on trips with him, that would make me feel better too.

    On a side note, we took a trip to Target Saturday and tried out the Marathon. He sat in it and his shoulders come up to the second highest harness slot. So that makes me feel better about my decision to get a bigger seat, if he is already up to there on the Marathon. Still have to check Burlington Coat Factory and Toys R Us.
    Last edited by Mama2J; 01-08-2008 at 01:21 PM.

  13. #12
    Car-Seat.Org Zealot skaterbabs's Avatar
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    if he's just at the 2nd to highest slot in the MS, you have tons of use left in it. my 3 yo is in the top slots and has been since her birthday.
    Rebekah Branch, CPST from May 2005 until June 2011
    Mom to CJ (7/96, seatbelt), Gregory (4/98, seatbelt), & Joyjoy (10/03, misc. booster seats)
    "That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on."
    - Denis Waitley

  14. #13
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    I installed a regent on a small bus recently. I ended up having to do it not so right. I hate to admit it but there was no way with that seat belt stalk to install the short belt path. I did it with long belt path even though you aren't supposed to do that. I was on the bus with him for a church trip, I wouldn't do it that way if it was for school with the liability and all. My son's school takes shot (less than 1 mile) trips to the other building occasionally and the kids just use the seatbelts regardless of weight. I don't like it but I let him. Its only been twice (Thanksgiving and Christmas).

    As for moving the regent, I can install it rock solid in no time at all using the long belt path. I've had it inspected so I know I"m doing it right. I find it the easiest seat I've ever installed when using the long belt path, I can't get the hang of latch though.

    Janet

  15. #14
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    What is the difference between the short and long belt paths? Is it just whether you use LATCH or seat belts? I have LATCH in my car - but my husband's truck, my friend's van, and I imagine the school bus doesn't. I can install my Evenflo seat really tight with the LATCH by kneeling in the seat, but I don't know how much easier or harder the Britax seats are to install.

    Just to clarify, we don't have a Marathon seat. I was trying it out in the store to see how he fits in some of the bigger seats. Still haven't bought his new seat yet. I forget to include relevant info sometimes! You guys have all been really helpful so far!
    Last edited by Mama2J; 01-08-2008 at 01:22 PM.

  16. #15
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    long path with lap/shoulder belt comes out to front of seat, then in through back, out again and buckles. So it wraps around the seat instead of just going through the back part. Short path is typical seat belt path of most carseats. On long path the shoulder part of the belt also helps to stabilize the top of the seat along with tether, I prefer long belt path over latch for that reason. Short path is only approved path for lap belt only. I did it wrong because it just wouldn't work any other way. I couldn't get my friends marathon installed at all do to the seatbelts on the bus so we had to use mine.

    Janet

  17. #16
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    I also have my Husky done with the long belt path/lapbelt-only. It used to be allowed, then was not allowed. But I couldn't get it any other way with my forward-of-the-bight belts, but now I have the recline bar so I'm going to see if that makes a difference and see if I can get it in with the short belt path.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  18. #17
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    Thanks for the info on the belt paths! I will be using the LATCH in my car until 48 pounds, and the seat belt in my husband's truck, so now I will know how hopefully. Both cars have tether, so I don't need the recline bar right?

    Good news on the school bus. I talked to the preschool teacher today about it, and she said the vehicles the preschoolers use are not the same ones that the kindergarteners are picked up in. I told her my concerns with him being in a seat belt right now, and she said they have built in seats with harnesses. He also may be in the summer program with her too since he will be over 3 1/2 by then and is potty trained, and they do 2 trips in the summer and 1 in the fall. Hopefully, I will be able to go with him anyway so I won't be so nervous about it!

  19. #18
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Riding with caregivers and schoolbus safety

    Right, as long as it's tethered and it's not a lapbelt-only, you don't need the recline bar.

    Awesome news about the built-in harnesses on the preschool bus.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

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