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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy Katy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    RF and tots on school bus

    My DS2 may be starting prek next month. He'll be riding on a full sized bus one way and a smaller yellow bus one way. He is stii RF, 3yrs 2m, 30ish lbs. He is very busy and no chance he will sit still without a harness. I most likely won't be able to transport him all the time. I'm not sure what seats are on the buses. My DS1 says there are no seatbelts on the big bus, but some younger child has a harness without a seat. I haven't found out about the small bus.

    I'd like to be prepared in what to look or ask for to safely transport my 3yr. I have a few different seats we could try out. I will buy another one if nessary.

    Also our ECFE group will be taking the bus on a field trip. Most the kids will be under 5. I'll be attending the trip with my 7yr, 3yr and 1 yr. I'm thinking it would be easier to drive then lug 2 seats on the bus. Just would be nice to take the bus as Mr. And Mrs. Clause will be riding with. It's an outdoor winter event so the bus will have closer parking and be open for us to warm up in.
    Nicholas ~ 8yr 50lbs ~ FR85 SICT Harnessed
    ~ Kassandra 12/24-29/05 and Nevaeh 10/21/06 ~ Safe in heaven.
    Karsen ~ 4yr 35lbs ~ ERF in S4ME
    Hailey ~ 3yr 34lbs ~ ERF CA65LX

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  3. #2
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    L.A. area

    Re: RF and tots on school bus

    Hey Katy! Nice to see you around.

    If you can't RF, a bus-specific restraint would be better than a conventional car seat, if they have one that fits him appropriately. So, first I'd ask if they have seatbelts. If yes, then see if you have a seat that fits RF, if you want him to. If not, or if your seats won't fit (Sceneras and other smaller convertibles do but many larger ones don't because the space between rows is small), then ask for a bus-specific restraint- if they have belts it may be a Y harness that attaches to the lap belt to make a 4-point, or they may have STAR seats or another similar system whether or not the bus has belts. As a last choice in a bus with belts install your car seat forward facing. (The reason that bus-specific restraints are preferable is that they have no or a very small shell, and the cam wrap is designed to work kind of like a tether; in the small space of a bus, they limit head excursion to protect the kids, since compartmentalization won't be protecting them like buses are designed to use. While a conventional car seat will protect a child on a bus, it's set further forward, and since you won't be able to tether it, head excursion may exceed the amount necessary for a head to hit the seat in front. The best choice for forward facers is a bus-specific restraint, and if that's not available, a lower-profile seat and preferably one that performs well without a tether on head excursion numbers.)

    You are absolutely right that all 3 year olds should have harnesses on buses. Good luck!
    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!

  4. #3
    Moderator - CPST Instructor QuassEE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tempe, AZ

    Re: RF and tots on school bus

    My advice would be this: Contact the bus company, and ask if you can see the buses in their fleet that will be and potentially could be transporting your child. Take your camera down, and snap some photos of the benches--looking for: any universal anchorage (if it exists, snap a photo of the legs where they're connected to the actual bus--including all legs in a photo) and integrated restraints, if they exist. If you do see integrated restraints, there are different kinds but I'm thinking there should be a weight range label. Snap a photo of the bench as a whole, as well. Then bring those back, and discuss them here. I believe some of the people here must have the bus training--I've taken two seminar sessions on school bus transport but it has been a while. You really just need to figure out what all the possible situations could be before we can discuss it with any real resolution.


    Abbi (9, Ozzi/Olli), Aiden (11, Affix), Mason (16), & Kyle (18) in '02 Protege5 & '11 Ody TE.
    It's like free

  5. #4
    CPS Technician
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Re: RF and tots on school bus

    You also should ask if the will remain on the bus 24/7 or if it will be removed and reinstalled.

    I worked for an ECSE program that transported littles to our center. The transport company took the seats out when they dropped off and attempted to reinstall the seat at pick up. [This was my first experience with CPS and I'm sad to say, my program failed miserably.]

    No matter what restraint is used, I'd be very concerned that it is installed and your child harnessed correctly EVERY time. [I've seen what "okay" or "good enough" looks like on the buses in my school district. ]

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