In a few days time the school year will be ending and lots of children are getting ready to enjoy summer leisure and sports activities in one of the many summer camps which are available in every area. Regardless of the type of camp the children will attend, many of them will take the bus to get to the camps, which is why we have compiled some essential advice for safe transport in these vehicles.
The first step is always to educate the child so that he or she knows how to travel safely. It is crucial that children learns from an early age about the importance of seat belts and that they must always be fastened as well as how to sit properly in the seat.
Secondly, if the camps offer transportation we should check that the buses have the minimum safety systems required. Transport by bus to a summer camp is similar to school transport, and we should therefore demand the same safety standards for our children. Firstly we should look at the overall characteristics of the bus: it should not be more than 16 years old, it should have non-slip flooring, seats for persons with disabilities and seat belts for all the seats (and, where possible, three-point belts) as well as handrails by the doors to help the children get on and off the vehicle.
Three-point seat belts are safer than belts which only have an abdominal strap, and are perfect for when we are using portable child restraint systems for buses. Transport companies are not required to provide these types of seats but they also cannot refuse to accept them on board providing that the said boosters seats do not take up too much space once installed.
If the company organizing the camp has a safety officer who will be traveling with the children on the bus this is certainly a point in their favor. We are talking about a safety officer who could easily be a monitor who ensures that all the children are properly secured in their seats with their seat belts fastened. This monitor would also be in attendance when the children are getting on and off the bus.
For younger children it is a good idea for them to use a suitable child restraint system, where possible. Having said that, it is very unusual for children under three years old to go to summer camps (unless they are childcare facilities and in such cases the parents usually take the child themselves by car). Children between 5 and 11 years old should always be protected by three-point seat belts and seated in booster seats for maximum safety.
To learn more about the safety measures and procedures indicated for school buses or buses transporting children you can take a look at this comprehensive infographic which has been prepared in order to provide further details.