School bus spin-off (Kecia?)

So, dd had her orientation yesterday, and that includes a ride on the school bus and going over the rules etc. Well, NY state requires all school buses to have belts, but they are lap only. They did buckle all the kids up.

I was wondering if any thing new has come out about lap belts and school buses, and whether it is a safety advantage, etc.


New member
Very tall kids/adults whose heads are above the top of the seat back are always better protected with a lap belt. Everybody is always better protected in a rollover in a lap belt. Little kids in a frontal impact are better without a lap-only belt. In a side impact, I forget which is better. I think with lap belt.
Hmm, interesting.

Looks like your right in the assumption that the lap belt would help in the side impact.

Another interesting read, where one accident is reported at the end where the only person on the bus to recieve only minor injuries was the one in the lap belt. The rest were either seriously or fatally injured. This was a bus vs train:(

Interesting data.


CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
It's too bad that more school districts won't pay to OPTIMALLY restrain their bus riders, and eliminate this debate in buses with lap only-belts, but the funding is often just not there. I wonder if there are grants they could qualify for, if they were aware of the need?

In my SN training in UT, we were told about the incident with a preschool bus full of lap-only belts that was in a horrific crash with a semi in a nearby district-- bus ended up on its side, front of the bus ripped off, driver severely injured. Because the school district's transportation coordinator was trained by CPSTs in what constituted "proper restraint" on the bus, he had arranged for EZ-On Y harnesses to convert all seating positions for the children to 4-point harnesses, and on the very full school bus, every one of them was in use. None of the children was injured enough to be transported to the hospital. I wish we heard more of those stories-- and the fact that the children were restrained in more than a lap belt was WIDELY reported when it happened. If parents knew enough to demand more than a lap belt on the bus, they might be willing to help raise funds to ensure it could happen.


New member
KQ, the problem is the money just isn't there. The number of lives saved each year by lap belts, or lap-shoulder belts, on school buses is very low. The cost of putting lap-shoulder belts on all the buses is high. The number of lives saved by taking those same dollars and funding them into other programs is higher, so that's where the money goes.


CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
Right. What I'm saying is that if individual parents saw this as desirable, they might raise the money themselves, be more willing to contribute their own money toward it and work toward it. That's how my school got a new playground-- parents raising the money. If parents want something, it can happen. May take a few years, but can happen.

Unfortunately it's a lot easier to get parents on board with a new playground, then harnesses or lap-shoulder retrofits in buses, even just for smaller children.


New member
Unfortunately it's a lot easier to get parents on board with a new playground, then harnesses or lap-shoulder retrofits in buses, even just for smaller children.
That's what I was going to say. I bet I can get my DS's preschool class to raise enough money to buy them all season passes to the zoo but I can't get them to put their 3-4 year olds back into HBB's instead of LBB's or nothing. Infuriating.


New member
Isn't it already federally mandated to harness head start children? I would imagine it would be relatively easy to expand that legislation to all children in prek programs. Having said that, A & C have had at least 6 bus drivers throughout their pre-k careers and I have yet to see a kid in a properly restrained- the harness always has lots of slack. I would imagine it's a similar situation in other school districts.


Senior Community Member
I had to fight for Safeguard Star's on my 32(ish) lb 4 yo's bus, but we've got them, and there is one driver that uses them correctly, AND uses the lapbelt next to the child (there are maybe 4 students on the bus, so each child has their own bench seat) to secure the backpack, AND buckles the standard vehicle carseat (the kids ride in 12 pass vans to school) in with the lapbelt in the rear rows.

So far, this is the only driver we've dealt with who actually cares. He was having issues with his bus a few weeks ago and had to use a van w/ the carseats, and when he dropped ds off, he's like "I haven't had to install a carseat in years. Can you check them all over and tell me what I've forgotten? I don't want to make mistakes." He actually had them in pretty good, and they appeared tight, but he hadnt' locked the belts, which is a pretty easy fix.
Well, I know in NY as well as all school buses needing have seatbelts, they also are not exempt from the child restraint law of all children under 4 must be in a harnessed seat, unless they are over 40 pounds. So I guess technically head start in NY needed seats anyway, right?

Pixels, one of the reports I posted said that belts on school buses would only save 1 more child a year.

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