Ensuring that children travel in safety is not always an easy task. This is especially the case if you need to use another form of transport than the family car, such as the school bus, a cab or the public bus service. Below we describe how children should travel on each of these public services in a responsible manner.
Taking a cab can be particularly difficult if you want your child to travel in the correct child restraint system. Fortunately more and more cab companies are offering this service. You simply need to tell them that you are traveling with a child and would like a child seat when ordering one (by phone or the internet) to make sure they have this service available (not every cab company does).
We should remember the campaign undertaken by the cab drivers committed to road safety in Roquetas de Mar. Like them, this service is being offered more and more frequently.
What does the law say in this respect? At present, a child under 1.35 cm tall can travel without a child restraint system provided that the cab journey is within the town or city and the child travels in the back seats. If, however, the cab needs to use interurban highways, the child must be seated in a child seat (and if they are less than 1.35 cm tall, this must be in the back seat). Full responsibility in this respect lies with the person responsible for the child - in other words, their legal guardian.
At Fundación MAPFRE we want to highlight the importance of always traveling with the appropriate child restraint system for the child's height and weight, and always an approved CRS, whether in urban or interurban areas. The child's safety should always be the number one priority.
In Spain the General Traffic Regulations state that buses (vehicles intended for public transport with more than nine seats) must use certified restraint systems suitable to the height and weight of of children over the age of three. When these systems are not available, the seat belts must be used, provided that they are suitable for the child's height and weight.
As indicated in the article "If you're traveling by bus, this is what you can do to make it safer for your child", seat belts normally have two anchoring points. As there is no diagonal strap on the belt, there is no issue in respect of the child's height and the belt protects adults and children equally. Obviously the ideal situation would be to fit a child restraint system but this could be very challenging.
Since 2015 there has been an approved child seat for use in buses in Europe on the market. It is designed for children weighing between 15 and 27 kilos (Group III).
The Children's Road Safety regulations do not contain any specific rules about local bus services. In most cases, an area is usually set aside for people to put a baby stroller.
More and more urban buses are being fitted with fixed child seats which face backwards and are intended specifically for children. This is the case of the EMT company in Madrid. Since 2008, every new bus in the EMT fleet has had to have fully certified baby seats on board as a child restraint system. Today there are 615 buses, of a total of 1900, with this service. The baby seats are installed in the opposite direction to the direction of travel and are suitable for children aged up to 18 months weighing a maximum of 30 kilos.
This infographic features child restraint systems for aircraft and buses: