Safe to take (just turned) 6 year old on "motor coach"? With/without carseat?

Loony

New member
Hi, I feel like there should be info on this somewhere but I'm having trouble finding much - so if this post is redundant, please direct me to existing ones :)

My question is whether it's safe to take my son (who will have just turned 6) on a "motor coach" - that is, a commercial bus like Greyhound (C&J, specifically https://www.ridecj.com) - that would be driving on the highway (about 1 hour from airport to destination). Is it safe to do without a carseat? I think some of the buses in the fleet have seatbelts but I'm not sure they all do. I also don't even know if our carseat would fit on the bus (Clek Fllo or Graco Extend2Fit).

Further details/background/context, if useful...

The only information I could find online about child safety on this type of bus was this post by the car seat lady (http://thecarseatlady.com/buses-and-trains/), which seems to argue that a carseat should be used. I called the bus company (C&J, https://www.ridecj.com) and the first person I talked with didn't know anything - put me on hold to check and then came back with a vague answer that kids usually just ride on the bus and they can put a carseat underneath. I pushed to talk with someone who would know more and got transferred to someone higher up who told me that research showed it was actually safer for the kids to NOT be in a carseat on this kind of bus. When I asked what research this was and how I could find it she said it was done by a private group of bus companies and she didn't know how I'd be able to access it (suspect).

anyway, I feel at a loss here. I want to do the bus option, but not if I'm going to be putting my kid at risk! I do have two other options instead of the bus:

1) Have my parents come and pick us up, although I'm not all that comfortable with the safety of my dad's driving, especially on busy highways around Boston, where we'd be flying into.

2) Fly to a different airport that's about the same distance from our ultimate destination, where we'd also get a ride from my parents - again, the issue with my dad's driving, but the highways around this airport are less busy so the driving seems slightly less risky! However, this airport would require a connection whereas flying to Boston would be direct.

3) Finally, one last word, in case you can't already tell, I'm a complete nut-job about carseat safety (although probably we all are if we're here? ;) ) - my son is currently still riding rear facing (although we are about to flip him) so the idea of him being in a moving vehicle on the highway without even a seatbelt feels crazy! (but if there's reason that it's not I want to know!!!)
 

jjordan

Moderator
It has been a long time since I've ridden on a bus like that and I don't have the statistics you are looking for. But if I were you I'd get a small booster (e.g. Bubblebum if he is at least 40 pounds) and bring it along in case the bus has seat belts. You'll be sitting right with him so I'm sure he can stay properly positioned in a booster. And regardless of the seat belt situation, statistically it sounds like you both will be safer in the bus than driving with your dad.
 

Dillipop

New member
Where are you headed once you land in Boston? Any chance it’s along the commuter rail lines? If so, I would take the subway to the commuter rail line and then out to wherever your parents live. Less driving and you only have to worry about a seat for a short drive instead of an hour long drive. I’d consider looking into a ride safer travel vest if you plan on taking a bunch of trips over the next few years as it’s a fantastic travel option.
 

Loony

New member
Thanks! I'll definitely look into the Bubblebum and Ride Safer vest. Our final destination isn't directly accessible by the train line, although there may be a train station 20 min or so from my parents', so if I wanted to make it a planes and trains adventure that is something to consider! (My son would probably like that!) although I'm now thinking, with the luggage (incl his carseat) it might be tricky since it will just be me and him.

Anyway! Thanks for the thoughts here - funny that there's not more widely available info on this topic! I'm going to have to bust into that private Bus Company organization to get this data they claim showing that it's safer without a carseat! ;P
 

albertaBritt

New member
I don't know about the bus being "safer" without a car seat, but if you consider that many 5 year olds are riding school buses completely unrestrained, you can see that buses in general do have a different standard. How safe, I don't know. A small backless booster is easy enough to carry though.
 

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