Preschool kids in a van, no restraints????? MAD!!!!!!!!


New member
I am speechless. The preschool picked up my child, 5, in a 15 passenger van today. Adult seatbelt across his neck. This has been in use for years. I called the director and she said she has never liked the van, that it's not ideal.

Normally it's a mini-bus (which was busy today(, but she said it's no better because it's also adult seatbelts, and kids are encouraged to have the neck part behind them.


This is an excellent program in a well to do community. The police even sent a note home to parents reminding them of proper carseat use in their cars, since some were not meeting standards, it seems.

So, a mini-bus with adult seatbelts? Is this safe? Is this standard? How can they legally use the van with no restraints?
They are getting a new vehicle in summer with integrated restraints. But I am asking about NOW. How is all this even legal?


New member
Pixels found the relevant laws for Illinois a few years ago:

A quick look around suggests that 15 passenger vans generally have a GVWR of greater than 9000 (which is also what has exempted them from passenger safety testing!), which would make them exempt from proper restraint use. :(


CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
I would emphasize LIABILITY to them over law. That's a huge lawsuit risk, I'd think, what with 15 passenger rollovers being in the news all the time that might be an angle to get their attention. If it's newer, backless boosters would even be a cheap and appropriate solution.


New member
So what's the consensus on a 5-year-old in a mini-bus with an adult seatbelt? (It's not a school bus mini-bus, but just a mini-bus). It's lap/shoulder. I am fine with the mini-bus itself. (Director encouraged kids to put shoulder belt behind them).
So does he ride with the adult set-up? He doesn't put anything behind him; he knows better.
Do I provide booster? I don't have the belts to look at in front of me and not sure if it's just like a car belt/booster friendly?
I was originally told it was a belt made to fit kids, and I looked over the outside of the bus myself. I was not told the right into, apparently!

As for the van, I'm asking to be notified so I can drive him if they use that again.

In the 1980's a similar van crashed and kids died, right here in town. All were belted, it said (no data to verify). But they were not in any type of seats. If they were belted, the seatbelts did not protect them. They were ages 6 to 8 or so.


New member
I am never fine with any situation where children are told to put the shoulder belt behind their back.

In the 1980's, a 15 passenger van would have had all lap belts.


New member
Adult seatbelt? On a mini-bus?

I think my other post got buried but I wanted to ask opinions because I'll need to decide this week...

If your 5-year-old rides on a mini-bus (not a small school bus)would you be OK with that?
Note I'm fine with the vehicle. Nice high seats.

It has lap/shoulder belts but they are sized for adults.
So he has to wear it as is. I'm worried about seatbelt injuries? Of course it doesn't fit him as it fits an adult.

This mini-bus transports preschool kids and kindergarten kids. The director is not thrilled with the vehicle and the kids put the shoulder part behind them, sometimes. My son doesn't do that. But then we're back to a small kid in an adult belt.

OK, I'd better go to bed. But this is keeping me up! :)
Do I try to have a booster for him? Nobody does this and I don't know if this is an option/compatible, etc. (I have a Vivo).

I am reading up on this and finding things like boosters are for cars and not a mini-bus, and it could put the child too high. I'm also reading that ages 3 and up use the adult seatbelt but under 3 can be unrestrained. This is some info from Europe. So I'm confused. It's against my gut instinct to have him in an adult seatbelt, but I understand a booster for a car might not be appropriate.

And logistically, the bus gets him from kindergarten. I have no idea how he'd bring anything restraint on the bus. Or walk into his classroom with it, and carry it the walk to school from my van. I am not seeing this as a viable possibility.


CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
While some experts say because of closer-together seats meaning less head excursion room and boosters possibly increasing the center of gravity, kids shouldn't use boosters on schoolbuses, instead need to use a 5-point harness (tethered if possible) if a lap/shoulder belt doesn't fit, I don't know if the same thing applies to a minibus with belts that are not adjustible and designed for adults. My gut instinct would be that a backless booster with a risk of slightly increased forward movement is better than a poor lap belt fit. A low-profile backless wouldn't raise the center of gravity THAT much, no back to push him forward at all, and the minibus MAY have more room between seats than a typical schoolbus, since it's designed for adults. Really I'd take a look inside before making any decisions, though.

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