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If travelling by bus, this is what you can do to make your child safer

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08/06/2015

Two things can happen: we are talking about an urban bus on which you are travelling with a pushchair or on a coach with an older child without a pushchair as it has been stowed in the luggage compartment because there is no room on board, or simply that you are not using one.

In the first case ensure that there is an area reserved for pushchairs in the middle of the bus in which there are special safety belts to hold the pushchair securely in place.

Then in the second case what do you do? In Spain the General Traffic Regulations stipulate that buses (any vehicle transporting more than nine passengers), have seats equipped with an approved child restraining system suitable for any child over three years of age or with any other approved restraining system.

Once the children have grown a little, they must use the bus seatbelts, usually a 2-point seatbelt, (one that is located below the stomach, over the pelvis). Since they don’t have a shoulder strap, one that crosses the chest and the collarbone, there is no issue with their height or danger of it being too close to the neck.

Remember that when travelling by bus and the seats are equipped with seatbelts, it is obligatory for both children and adults to use them when in an urban area or otherwise.

Obviously it is best to always use a child seat. Given that the seats are as they are, you would be lucky to find that your seat could be used in a bus. There is nothing within the regulations that could impede the use of a child restraining system if it can be correctly secured to the seat of the bus. If it fits between the rows of seats and can be installed comfortably and correctly using the seatbelt and you can guarantee it won’t tip up, perhaps with the leg of the seat resting on the floor of the bus, then it can be used.

Although, at the moment it is not usual, there are also safety harnesses approved specifically for use in coaches, these are smaller and are fixed by a variety of straps and belts to the seat of the bus.

Without doubt there is a gap in the legislation relating to children under 3 years old travelling by bus, they are not mentioned in the regulations, only from 3 years upwards. At this point we must remember to be cautious because however careful you may be as a parent, carrying a child in your arms during a sudden stop or in an accident, it would be impossible to hold the child in your arms and it would be thrown forward.

We can try to use the infant seat we already have, as we have explained, this would be the ideal solution because it offers the best protection. Otherwise we can use a safety harness such as those approved for use in an airplane. Small children and babies usually use these. The child wears the harness whilst sat on the parent’s knee and is fixed to the seatbelt used by the parent.

Remember that the regulations can differ slightly from one country to another, you can find out the requirements of each country in the section on legislation in our web page.

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