Summer camp exempt from using boosters!?!?

essnce629

New member
So my kids have been going to the same summer day camp for several years now. DS1 started when he was 7 and I always provided him with a booster to take when they went on their daily field trips in their vans (8 or 10? seater vans with lap shoulder belts). He always used it even though he was the only one (CA law used to be no booster after 6).

So now 6 year old DS2 is going to the same camp for the whole summer (he went last year but for just 2 weeks). CA law since 2012 is now that you must have a booster under the age of 8. Again, I've given him a booster to use daily and the counselors assured me that they kept all the boosters together in one room and pulled them out when it was time for the field trips. I told DS2 he wasn't allowed in any van without a booster and to tell a couselor to get his booster if he doesn't see them with it. Day two I pick him up and he tells me he had gone on TWO separate field trips with NO booster! He didn't speak up and not a single kid in the van had a booster (he's in a group with just K and 1st graders so they should ALL have boosters legally). I talked to the co-directer that was there at pick up and told him nobody got DS2's booster and that not a single kid in the van had boosters even though that's illegal. He told me that DS2 wasn't in his van and that he always uses the boosters if the kids bring them. I told him that all children under 8 need to have a booster or they can't go on the field trip, end of story as that's the law. He told me that I needed to talk to the head director, but that he agreed with me.

This morning I talked to the head director and told him that DS2's booster wan't used and that it's illegal to drive kids under 8 without a booster. He tells me that he's pretty sure that "highback commercial vehicles are exempt from having to use boosters!" WHAT! Never heard of that, and how is a van that transports kids all day a commercial vehicle? He talked about how they can't use boosters in their buses they use for the Friday big trips. I told him I understand why buses can't use boosters, but that a van is different. He said they were in the same category! He said he'd double check with his insurance and get back to me and took down DS2's name to make sure that he used his booster today. I went and got DS2's booster out of the room where they stored it and there was only ONE other booster in there! There's at least 20+ 5-7 year olds at the camp!

So what do I need to do? He's completely wrong isn't he? A van driving kids around is not a commercial vehicle is it? Daycares use these types of vans all the time and have to use carseats. And I don't want just DS2 in a booster, I want all those 5-7 year old kids to have a booster and just like we're told at school when there's a field trip, if you're kid doesn't have a booster then they don't get to go on the field trip. The kids have the choice to either stay back at camp or go on the field trips, so staying back is not a problem. All these kids are using boosters in their cars at home so it's not a problem to have them bring their booster with them to camp. Last year when I dropped DS2 off with his booster, another mom saw me and said "oh, I didn't know we could bring boosters." And the next day she left boosters for her 5 and 6 year old sons!

This is the van they use.
 

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ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
No, that van shouldn't be exempt in California. I would suggest giving them a statement in writing that they may only transport your son in a booster and do not have permission to transport him without it. Speak directly to the person in charge of loading the children. And contact SafetyBeltSafe if you need help with legal info for the director.
 

essnce629

New member
No, that van shouldn't be exempt in California. I would suggest giving them a statement in writing that they may only transport your son in a booster and do not have permission to transport him without it. Speak directly to the person in charge of loading the children. And contact SafetyBeltSafe if you need help with legal info for the director.
Thank you! I'm thinking of printing this out and showing the director. Or is there something better?

http://www.carseat.org/Legal/99_Enf.pdf

Even if my kid is in a booster every single time at camp, I want them to make it a rule and tell every parent that "no booster equals no field trips," because IT'S THE LAW! In a crash, even if my kid is in a booster in their van, all the other kids are 40-60lb projectiles because they're riding in an adult seat belt that's not going to hold them in!
 

essnce629

New member
As long as their seatbelts are fastened they aren't going to be projectiles. I wouldn't fret about that.

They would be injured for sure, which isn't a pleasant thought. I usually use this flyer for CA law: http://www.carseat.org/Resources/630CA,2-2-15.pdf
Ok. So the lap belt will keep them from flying out the window, but couldn't the two kids on either side of my son slam into him if their shoulder belts are not on their shoulders at all because they don't fit?

And thanks for that printout! I've seen it before too.

What should I do if the camp doesn't take me seriousely and continues transporting all the 5-7 year olds without boosters? Contact CHP? Call 911 as the van pulls out of the parking lot and report them?
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
The shoulder belts should keep the kids somewhat in place as long as they are over their bodies.

I do suggest calling or emailing SafetyBeltSafe for ideas on what to do. The people who run the Helpline are experienced in legalities and tricky situations.
 

essnce629

New member
The shoulder belts should keep the kids somewhat in place as long as they are over their bodies.

I do suggest calling or emailing SafetyBeltSafe for ideas on what to do. The people who run the Helpline are experienced in legalities and tricky situations.
I see a phone number but no email. Or should I use the contact Stephanie Tombrello button link?
 

bnsnyde

New member
In Illinois all the big old vans drive little kids around with no seats. Perfectly legal. It's one reason I chose camps with school buses, or at least no vans.
 

essnce629

New member
In Illinois all the big old vans drive little kids around with no seats. Perfectly legal. It's one reason I chose camps with school buses, or at least no vans.
So are you saying these vans are exempt from the booster seat law out there? I wonder why that is? The seat belts don't fit any better! I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around this!

Do these vans have lap shoulder belts? If not, then it wouldn't be physically possible to use boosters and the law can't penalize for that. Our camp vans all have lap shoulder belts and are newer.
 

Keeyamah

Active member
My daycare is exempt from booster laws as well. For their private kindy class and when they take the older kids to or from daycare, and their summer day camp as well. But I wrote into my oldests kindy paperwork that he is to use his when they have a field trip.
 

essnce629

New member
According to the CA DMV website:

A "commercial vehicle" is a vehicle which is used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property (for example, trucks and pickups). Vehicle Code Section 260.

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/online/fee_calc/vehdef


So would this include the camp vans? Are they considered transporting persons for profit?
 

Brigala

Well-known member
So would this include the camp vans? Are they considered transporting persons for profit?
I don't THINK so, but I'm not positive. I think that means things like taxis, limos, transit vans, etc.

I'm so glad Oregon removed their exceptions for commercial vehicles years ago. It's illegal here for a kid to ride in a taxi without a proper restraint. Clears up a lot of confusion.
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
School/daycare/camp vehicles are not considered hire vehicles.

There are school bus exemptions but they only apply to actual buses as far as i know.
 

LISmama810

Admin - CPS Technician
School/daycare/camp vehicles are not considered hire vehicles. There are school bus exemptions but they only apply to actual buses as far as i know.
I can't find my notes now, but I went to a school bus CEU update when I lived in CA, and I could have sworn that vans used by schools, churches, and the like are considered buses when it comes to child restraints. I remember writing that down specifically because I was so shocked.

The person giving the presentation was a CPST and was the person in charge of training/disciplining/otherwise overseeing bus drivers in the county. She did say that she never told drivers that kids legally didn't need restraints on vans because she wanted them in restraints regardless.
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
I thought that exemption was written out a while ago? Maybe it was only a proposed change though.
 

mping

New member
Regardless of the law, if you said your kid needs a booster to ride, and they didn't abide by that, you have every right to be furious!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

AllieK

New member
And I don't want just DS2 in a booster, I want all those 5-7 year old kids to have a booster and just like we're told at school when there's a field trip, if you're kid doesn't have a booster then they don't get to go on the field trip. The kids have the choice to either stay back at camp or go on the field trips, so staying back is not a problem. All these kids are using boosters in their cars at home so it's not a problem to have them bring their booster with them to camp. Last year when I dropped DS2 off with his booster, another mom saw me and said "oh, I didn't know we could bring boosters." And the next day she left boosters for her 5 and 6 year old sons!
While I appreciate that your trying to make sure all the kids are safe I think you just need to worry about your own kids here. If the camp isn't following your instructions about using a booster then pull your kid out. Forget the legality of it. You gave specific instructions regarding safety and they weren't followed. I would be very candid with the camp directors and other parents who asked for the reason you pulled your kid out.
 

seb3244

New member
If I found out for sure it was against the law I would call 911 as they pulled out lol

I'll probably get nailed for this comment
 

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