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  1. #1
    CPS Technician fyrfightermomma's Avatar
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    should my kids wear belts?

    My kids ride a small school bus to school. The yellow type with lights and all that

    I have no issue with buses and allowed both to go on full size buses in preschool at 3 and 4 for field trips, so that not an issue for me

    This is Evelyns second year riding and sophias first. Both girls sit perfectly for the three minute ride


    My question is, there are lapbelts. The bus driver buckles the girls in each day

    It never occurred to me that that might not be a great idea until today.

    Would the kids be better off unrestrained than with just lapbelts? Obviously at their size lapbelts don't fit right.

    E is 40 lbs and 48" and 6. Sophia is 40" and 40 lbs and will be five this winter


    Should I just ask the driver to not restrain them? Or being a little bus, is it better to have the lapbelts? I am.leaning towards unrestrained. No, installing seats is not an option, nor something I want to do twice a day. They don't ride.the same bus home anyways.


    Thanks!

    E 8y 43 lbs 58" Harmony NBB
    S 7y 52 lbs 54" Harmony NBB
    J-4y 38 lbs Graco Headwise 70 Britax Roundabout 50

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  3. #2
    CPS Fanatic mominabigtruck's Avatar
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    Re: should my kids wear belts?

    Compartmentalization doesn't work as well when they're that small so I would prefer the seatbelts.
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  4. #3
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: should my kids wear belts?

    They're better without the lap belts. Those will hold them in place (so that's a plus), but in a frontal crash they'll jackknife over it and have spinal injuries from that, and then their chins snapping back as they impact the seat in front.

    Without the lap belt their bodies will go forward in a sitting position, keeping them more spine neutral, and allowing their entire upper bodies to hit the back of the seat in front upright.

    If there were shoulder belts or harnesses that would be absolutely ideal. But lap belts, no. I'd skip them.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  5. #4
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    Re: should my kids wear belts?

    Quote Originally Posted by wendytthomas View Post
    They're better without the lap belts. Those will hold them in place (so that's a plus), but in a frontal crash they'll jackknife over it and have spinal injuries from that, and then their chins snapping back as they impact the seat in front.

    Without the lap belt their bodies will go forward in a sitting position, keeping them more spine neutral, and allowing their entire upper bodies to hit the back of the seat in front upright.

    If there were shoulder belts or harnesses that would be absolutely ideal. But lap belts, no. I'd skip them.

    Wendy
    This is what I've always been taught about school buses with lap-only belts. Is the spacing different between the seats in the short buses vs. the long buses? If it's not, I'd rather go with the compartmentalization. If there's a great risk of rollover, I might change my mind. I believe Kecia has done some research on this topic, so I'll ask her to chime in.

  6. #5
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: should my kids wear belts?

    I agree.

    If they insist on using the belts, it would be ideal if you can convince the SD to fit Y-harnesses with them for all riders.
    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!

  7. #6
    Admin - CPST Instructor Kecia's Avatar
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    Re: should my kids wear belts?

    I've researched this quite a bit but my research has mainly focused on full size buses that have lap belts. NY State is one of only 6 states that has mandated seatbelts on all their full size buses. We were actually the first state to do so back in the late 80's. Therefore we have 20+ years of data on school bus crashes with seat belt usage. From what we were told at a school bus safety conference session about 5 years ago (I can look up the speaker if necessary, I'm pretty sure I still have the handouts somewhere in an old bin of CPS conference stuff), we're just not seeing any evidence of the horrible injuries that some people think may happen if kids wear a lap belt on a school bus.

    Personally, I'm a staunch advocate of wearing a seatbelt whenever there is one available. I don't care if it's a damn baby ride at Chuck E. Cheese - if there's a seatbelt there, I'm telling my kid to put it on. Honestly, I can't even imagine how my kids (now 14 & 7) would have reacted if there wasn't a seatbelt on their school bus when they first started riding the bus. I picture them screaming "I'M NOOOOT BUUUUCKLED!" as the bus was pulling away from the stop. They probably would have hyperventilated the entire way to and from school. Seriously.

    Anyhow, the way I see it -the pros of wearing a lap belt on a school bus far outweigh any hypothetical risks involved. Now if someone wants to point me in the direction of some study or data that shows that children are actually being injured by seatbelts on school buses (and I'm not talking about the kid who uses the unbuckled seatbelt to whack the kid next to him), then maybe I'll change my mind. Until then, I stand by my opinion that it's better to use them if you have them available. Reasoning below.

    ~ compartmentalization doesn't work in side impacts or rollovers
    ~ compartmentalization doesn't work if the kids aren't in the perfect position at the moment of impact
    ~ Have you ever driven behind a school bus??? Are those unbelted kids actually sitting the way they need to be sitting in order to be protected by compartmentalization?
    ~ Kids need to hear a consistent message when it comes to belt usage
    ~ Kids wearing seatbelts are actually going to be *sitting in their seat* during the moment of impact which increases their chances of not being seriously injured
    ~ Kids wearing seatbelts are much less likely to cause distractions for the bus driver who is trying to keep his/her eyes on the road and drive safely

    If you look at the reasons commonly cited by those opposed to seatbelts on buses you'll see they never mention anything about seatbelts being dangerous or causing injuries. The reasoning is always the same: too costly, might reduce capacity (which becomes a cost issue) and if the bus catches on fire or lands in a river the kids might not be able to evacuate as quickly if they were buckled.

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