AAP Recommends Seat Belts on School Buses

To ensure child safety, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children travel in age-appropriate, properly secured child restraint systems on school buses. Seat belts prevent serious injuries that often occur in school bus accidents seen by a car accident lawyer.

School Bus Safety

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has had a long-standing, strong position on school bus safety. They recommend that all new school buses be equipped with seat belts, lap or shoulder belts, to prevent injuries if the bus is involved in an accident. They recommend that restraints also accommodate booster seats, car seats, and harness systems. For preschool age children, they recommend car seats and restraint systems that are height-and weight-appropriate, including booster seats that have a three-buckle safety feature. Currently, there are 35 federal motor vehicle safety standards that apply to school buses. Large school buses that transport more than 16 passengers are not required to be equipped with seat belts. Small school buses weighing 10,000 pounds or less are equipped with lap belts.

Each year, 23.5 million children are transported on 457,000 school buses during school hours. Each child who travels to and from school on a school bus, travels an average of 1300 miles per school year. According to accident statistics, 815 students die and 152,250 are injured each year on a school bus during regular travel between school and home. These figures do not include any special school activity trips where children are transported on a school bus. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), school buses are one of the safest modes of transportation, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have risks. A car accident lawyer often sees serious injuries and fatalities to children on a school bus that’s involved in a crash. NHTSA crash investigations show that in school bus accidents, children who are not restrained are often thrown from the bus during high-impact collisions and rollovers.

Children with special needs are at even greater risk of injury in a school bus accident. The AAP recommends that school buses that transport special needs children be equipped with special restraint systems. They recommend that these restraints be evaluated for childrens’ ages, weight, height, and positioning during travel, especially for children in wheelchairs which is common for children with disabilities. Special needs children often suffer more serious injuries seen by a car accident lawyer in a school bus crash.

 

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