The use of an approved restraint system on coaches has been obligatory for all new vehicles since 2007, but the law says nothing about the use of child restraint systems. The use of such systems is not even considered for coaches and, what is more, there is nothing regarding how young children under the age of three should be transported. In terms of road safety this is a significant concern.
This means that it is up to the company providing school transport services to decide whether or not to install child restraints suitable for our youngest children, given that the law does not require them to do so. Despite the fact that a bus company is not required to make child seats available on their vehicles, we do nevertheless have the right to use our own child car seat, providing it is a compatible and approved seat and can be secured to the bus seat.
Some practical solutions have been put in place by some companies. ALSA's Pequebús is one of the iniciatives we have discussed in the past. It is a school bus with child seats from the smallest groups which have been adapted for the transportation of babies and children up to 5 years old. That said, these are not widespread iniciatives and the vast majority of the school bus fleet in Spain does not have any protection system other than seat belts.
In order to try to increase the safety of our young children, a few years ago the National Children's Safety Association ("Asociación Nacional de Seguridad Infantil") started a petition on the change.org platform in order to request formally that the National Department of Traffic provide greater safety measures for the children who use the bus to get to school every day.
This petition was based on the fact that since child restraint systems are compulsory for private vehicles, this should also be the case for school transport. The reality is that this is a complex situation since the school transport buses would have to be adapted to the specific needs of each child and would need child car seats of differing sizes at all times. However, this is not an impossible task and this is why the petition remains open and has almost 50,000 signatures at this point.
It would be a considerable step forward for the road safety of very young children if we had the necessary tools to achieve widespread use of CRS on school transport and it is important for companies to have the necessary incentive to achieve this. Moreover, a good child restraint system adapted to the bus would be the ideal way of achieving this goal. Despite child car seats being compatible with buses, a system designed specifically for them would be far more versatile and user-friendly.