Daycare Fieldtrips and Car Seats...help!

mrs.christie

New member
Sorry this is so long, but I could really use some advice!

I started as a preschool teacher this past fall and until recently when I started researching car seats for my baby due this fall, car seats were foreign to me. After learning about car seat safety on this board, I am now deeply troubled by my school's use of car seats.

The daycare I work at uses two methods for transporting children on field trips. Parents who drive their child and another kid or two in their own car and/or the daycares bus. Both methods seem to have problems.

Car seat installs can be tricky and it doesn’t seem likely that a parent installing another child's seat will end up installing it properly. The parent drivers usually spend just minutes installing the other child seat and I know they aren't checking any manuals.

The school's van doesn't seem any safer. The van is outfitted with boosters that look identical to the ones I rode in during the 80's. I'm not sure what they are called, and perhaps they are still considered safe, but the backless boosters did not seem appropriate for the 3 yr olds we were transporting on our last field trip. On top of the inappropriate seat, I'm pretty sure the seats had a mfg date of 2001. Don’t all seats expire after 6 years?

I plan on bringing this up to the director, but I'd like to have my facts straight before I do. Any links to basic car seat safety websites would be great. Also, how do most daycares safely transport children? It seems like it would be almost impossible? Thanks!
 

Murphy's Law

New member
We have similar problems at the school where I work. It's incredibly frustrating to get any type of positive change in that area.

Can you post pictures of the seats in the buses and maybe we can tell what they are just by looking? Better yet, if you could tip them over and check the dates, that would be even more helpful.

I think your best bet is to present the issues to the bus company and see where you can go from there (you'll have some ground to stand on if you are positive the seats are expired). There isn't a lot you can do about other parents putting seats in other cars, short of having a tech present prior to every field trip. But maybe you can call your local fire department and schedule a CPST to come ahead of time when you know there will be a trip and there will be a lot of seat swapping going on.
 

CTPDMom

Ambassador - CPS Technician
And also keep in mind that 'daycare van' does not automatically = school bus. So exemptions in state car seat laws for school buses might not apply to your school's van. (ETA: What state are you in?)
 

mrs.christie

New member
It's not a school bus, just a cargo van. I think it has 3 bench seats in it, not sure.

Do most child care facilities go on field trips using parent drivers? Maybe it is really commom, but it seems like such a huge liability issue.

I'm in WA state. Part of the child restraint law here specifies that both the vehicle and car seat mfg instructions must be followed. There's no way this is happening when there are parent drivers, as the car seat manuals aren't even present. This has to be in violation of the law.
 

CTPDMom

Ambassador - CPS Technician
It's not a school bus, just a cargo van. I think it has 3 bench seats in it, not sure.

Do most child care facilities go on field trips using parent drivers? Maybe it is really commom, but it seems like such a huge liability issue.

I'm in WA state. Part of the child restraint law here specifies that both the vehicle and car seat mfg instructions must be followed. There's no way this is happening when there are parent drivers, as the car seat manuals aren't even present. This has to be in violation of the law.
I don't see any exception for a daycare van like you've described. It appears to me that every child under the age of 8, or who is less than 4'9" MUST be in an appropriate car seat or booster seat (if lap/shoulder belts).

http://depts.washington.edu/booster/pdf/antonlaw.pdf

And you are right, it DOES specify that you must install according to both the vehicle and the seat's manual's instructions.

I'd bring a copy of the law to the director. Or if you know a local CPST who can speak to her that would be another option.
 

swtgi1982

New member
Does anyone know what the laws on this are for MI? my daughter is starting preschool in the fall and the same set up is expected from what I was told just want to make sure if I am driving I follow the laws
 

BookMama

Moderator
Does anyone know what the laws on this are for MI? my daughter is starting preschool in the fall and the same set up is expected from what I was told just want to make sure if I am driving I follow the laws
The IIHS web site is a good resource for finding out state CPS laws. :thumbsup:

In Michigan, children must be restrained in a car seat or booster until they turn 8, unless they reach 4'9" first. In addition, children under age 4 must ride in the back seat unless every available back seat position is occupied by a child under age 4. (This part of the law is new and just took effect yesterday. :)) There are no exemptions for 15-passenger vehicles.
 

tanyaandallie

Senior Community Member
I think it's pretty common at smaller preschools for parents to drive on field trips. We have the same thing. No passenger van, just parent drivers. I always drive. There is no possible way I would let another parent drive my child and no way at all I'd let my tiny now 4 year old ride in a booster. To me it's just easier to drive. I load my car up with all the seats I have so I can transport the children I take with me safetly.
 

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