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  1. #1
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    Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    At 41 LBs and 42.5 inches tall, my son recently outgrew the car seats provided by the school for their small school bus. I realize that it is legal and not considered unsafe... but he seems so tiny (all by himself, naked w/o the protection of the car seat) sitting right next to the numerous car seats on the bus. I can only imagine him getting crushed between the car seats in an accident.

    My other concern is -- although he doesn't sleep often on the bus, once I did see him leaned over the edge of the seat with his head protruding into the aisle; clearly the standard seat belt on the bus cannot keep him in upright when he falls asleep.

    Can anyone recommend some kind of booster seat for him on the bus?
    (The school will use it if I provide it, but it must be compatible w/ the lap belt that they have.)

    Thanks so much in advance!

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    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    Is this a public or private school? Does he have an IEP? Is this a special education school?

    What is your budget?
    Melissa
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    An Evenflo Maestro will probably fit the bill

  5. #4
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    Quote Originally Posted by Maedze View Post
    An Evenflo Maestro will probably fit the bill
    OP, here is a quick review on the Maestro: http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=109121
    Melissa
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    Camden 9
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  6. #5
    Carseat Crankypants carseatcoach's Avatar
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    If there is only a lap belt, he cannot use a booster: he must use a harnessed seat. I agree that the Maestro would be a good choice.
    CPST and Mama to a 13yo girl, 5-stepped at age 10 and 5'

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  7. #6
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    Quote Originally Posted by lovinwaves View Post
    Is this a public or private school? Does he have an IEP? Is this a special education school?

    What is your budget?
    It's a private school bus (he missed the public school age cut-off for kindergarten by 2 months!).

    What is an IEP?

    No, it's not special ed. The school is for age 2 through kindergarten, so they use small school busses with car seats to transport the kids.

    Budget is somewhat flexible, as this seat can be passed down to his younger sib(s).

  8. #7
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    Quote Originally Posted by Maedze View Post
    An Evenflo Maestro will probably fit the bill
    Quote Originally Posted by lovinwaves View Post
    OP, here is a quick review on the Maestro: http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=109121
    Quote Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
    If there is only a lap belt, he cannot use a booster: he must use a harnessed seat. I agree that the Maestro would be a good choice.
    Thanks! I will check out the review for the Maestro.

  9. #8
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    One more question...

    The bus driver told me that her son would refuse to go into a car seat (or anything that looks like a car seat) for the school bus, especially if he's already been riding without it for a few months. I'm not sure about my son... He's generally more agreeable than many kids, but a new kindergardeners may not want to go back to a car seat if only the "younger" kids are using them...

    She mentioned that she had seen a booster seat with a low back or no back that had been provided by a parent in the past... She's doesn't remember much about it, but it doesn't look as much like a car seat as his Nautilus or the Maestro...

    Is that an option for the bus? If so, which models do you recommend?

    Thanks!

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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    Quote Originally Posted by Elee View Post
    One more question...

    The bus driver told me that her son would refuse to go into a car seat (or anything that looks like a car seat) for the school bus, especially if he's already been riding without it for a few months. I'm not sure about my son... He's generally more agreeable than many kids, but a new kindergardeners may not want to go back to a car seat if only the "younger" kids are using them...

    She mentioned that she had seen a booster seat with a low back or no back that had been provided by a parent in the past... She's doesn't remember much about it, but it doesn't look as much like a car seat as his Nautilus or the Maestro...

    Is that an option for the bus? If so, which models do you recommend?

    Thanks!
    No, that is absolutely NOT an option. Those seats can ONLY be used with a lap-shoulder belt. Putting a child in a lap belt and booster is a recipe for a serious or fatal abdominal injury.

  11. #10
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    Right. I know some of the smaller private school buses do have lap shoulder belts-- if they do, a booster is an option. But if not, it's a very bad idea (not to mention not allowed by any booster manufacturer) to use it with a lap-only belt on ANY vehicle.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
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    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  12. #11
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    She mentioned a lap-belt in the OP, so I am assuming no lap-shoulder belt available.

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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    Quote Originally Posted by ketchupqueen View Post
    Right. I know some of the smaller private school buses do have lap shoulder belts-- if they do, a booster is an option. But if not, it's a very bad idea (not to mention not allowed by any booster manufacturer) to use it with a lap-only belt on ANY vehicle.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maedze View Post
    No, that is absolutely NOT an option. Those seats can ONLY be used with a lap-shoulder belt. Putting a child in a lap belt and booster is a recipe for a serious or fatal abdominal injury.
    Yikes!!! Thanks, that's important for me to know!

    I will have to find out if their busses have shoulder belts... I think probably not though... Is there such as thing as a "low-back" booster that won't look so much like a car seat and can be used w/ a lap belt?

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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    Quote Originally Posted by Elee View Post
    Yikes!!! Thanks, that's important for me to know!

    I will have to find out if their busses have shoulder belts... I think probably not though... Is there such as thing as a "low-back" booster that won't look so much like a car seat and can be used w/ a lap belt?
    No. The only safe option for a lap belt is a harnessed seat.

    Keep in mind that children also must have head support to the tops of their ears. Bus seat backs are usually quite low, so you NEED that high backed shell of a harnessed seat to protect their heads and necks.

  15. #14
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    I was thinking that I've seen a few buses that have lap-only belts in all but a few seating positions, but do provide a shoulder. It really really depends on the bus, so I thought I'd mention it. Or, if there's another bus available to pick him up that is newer and DOES provide shoulder belts-- etc.

    Another question-- if there are only lap belts, what do the children not in harnessed seats ride in? Do they use the lap belts, or not use them?

    There are also school-bus specific restraints that have a harness but have a lower profile and might not look so much like a "car seat" to him.

    But they are much more expensive; I'd not even worry about it until you find out whether it's even an issue. (I bet it won't be, if you just explain that he needs to be safe on the bus like he is in the car.)
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  16. #15
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    Quote Originally Posted by Maedze View Post
    No. The only safe option for a lap belt is a harnessed seat.

    Keep in mind that children also must have head support to the tops of their ears. Bus seat backs are usually quite low, so you NEED that high backed shell of a harnessed seat to protect their heads and necks.
    Wait... Are you saying that it NOT SAFE for him to be on the bus without the harnessed car seat? The back of the bus seat is plenty higher than his head... Is that enough of the "head support", or must he be in a high-back booster with the support that curves around the head?

    The other kids on the bus sit "naked" once they reach 4 or outgrow the car seat, unless the parent specifically requests otherwise. That makes me a bit nervous... I need to make a decision right away and buy something if needed before school starts in Sept!

  17. #16
    Car-Seat.org Ambassador Patriot201's Avatar
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    Quote Originally Posted by Elee View Post
    Wait... Are you saying that it NOT SAFE for him to be on the bus without the harnessed car seat? The back of the bus seat is plenty higher than his head... Is that enough of the "head support", or must he be in a high-back booster with the support that curves around the head?
    He can't use a high-backed booster with only lapbelt.

    What she is saying is that because your son's bus has only lapbelts, the safest choice would be a harnessed seat that installs with the lapbelt.

    Really, at this point, you have two choices:

    (1) Get a harnessed seat that can be installed with the school bus's lapbelt.
    (2) Have your son ride in only a lapbelt on the bus.

    The safest choice would be a harnessed seat. While school buses do offer "compartmentalization" in an accident (which I am not sure works with a lapbelt... I just don't know), it would be optimal for your son to be in a harnessed seat. The school is offering to allow you to provide a seat. I would take the school up on that offer!


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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    Quote Originally Posted by ketchupqueen View Post
    I was thinking that I've seen a few buses that have lap-only belts in all but a few seating positions, but do provide a shoulder. It really really depends on the bus, so I thought I'd mention it. Or, if there's another bus available to pick him up that is newer and DOES provide shoulder belts-- etc.

    Another question-- if there are only lap belts, what do the children not in harnessed seats ride in? Do they use the lap belts, or not use them?

    There are also school-bus specific restraints that have a harness but have a lower profile and might not look so much like a "car seat" to him.

    But they are much more expensive; I'd not even worry about it until you find out whether it's even an issue. (I bet it won't be, if you just explain that he needs to be safe on the bus like he is in the car.)
    After he came out of the car seat, he used the lap belt, sitting next to the car seat for his younger sister. The school told me that he's safe with just the lap belt... until I found him slumped over w/ his head in the aisle, as mentioned above...

    The "school-bus restraints" sound great to me! What are some names so I can look into it further? Thanks!!!

  19. #18
    Carseat Crankypants carseatcoach's Avatar
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    A lap-only belt is not safe for anyone at any time. It is especially unsafe for a small child, because the belt is likely to ride high on the belly. In a crash, thousands of pounds of force will be directed into the soft tissues of the abdomen. This is "seatbelt syndrome" and it can be fatal. Riding in a lap-only belt is not an option that should even be on the table here.

    ETA: The Safeguard Star is one bus-only restraint.
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  20. #19
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    Quote Originally Posted by Elee View Post
    The "school-bus restraints" sound great to me! What are some names so I can look into it further? Thanks!!!
    One choice- http://www.easywaysafetyservices.com/gpage13.html
    Another option- http://www.safeguardseat.com/industr...ints/star.html


    “Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.” ~Carl Sandburg
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  21. #20
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Booster on school bus for 4-year-old

    One of the most popular is the STAR and STAR Plus seats by Safeguard/IMMI. There are other brands but that is often said to be easiest to use and install.

    I agree that a lap-only seat is not a safe choice for children, even on a bus.

    It might behoove the school to look into this issue, because the STAR seats are designed to fit 2 in a row, just like children normally do, and might be a good investment for them to keep ALL their bus riders safe.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

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