Special Needs Transportation

Review: Expert guidance on safety restraints

Posted on December 30, 2010

By Ted Finlayson-Schueler

The School Bus Safety Handbook: Choosing and Using Child Safety Restraint Systems is the definitive authority on installing child safety restraint systems — car seats, safety vests and wheelchairs — on school buses.

The book is published by Safe Ride News and written by Deborah Stewart, Linda White and Mary Anderson. Stewart, the primary author, has been involved with car seats and school buses for 20 years and child occupant protection advocacy for twice that long.

The review team that was used to prepare the publication reads like a “who’s who” of school transportation special-needs experts. The stated goal of the handbook is “to provide a brief, clear description of the selection, installation, and use in school buses of products available for protecting infants, toddlers and preschool-aged passengers and those with special needs.”

Each product category is clearly explained and illustrated. Bus equipment issues such as bus seat types, seat spacing, LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), integrated seats, lap-shoulder seat belts, cam-wraps, tether anchors and retrofitting are all explained.

All commonly used seating and wheelchair securement products are included. Clear directions for matching children with restraint types are offered, along with guidance on getting involved in the IEP development process so that any equipment issues can be addressed in a timely fashion.

In addition to the “how to choose them and how to use them” sections, there are four helpful appendices: Terms and Concepts, Basic Types of Child Safety Restraint Systems, Resources and Manufacturers.

If you transport any students who are wheelchair users or preschoolers or have special seating needs, you need to get this book. Poor choices for this equipment can put your students at risk and expose your operation to liability — don’t take that chance.

For more information, or to order the handbook, go here.

Ted Finlayson-Schueler is a veteran school bus safety advocate and president of Safety Rules! He can be reached at schoolbusted@safetyrules.net or www.safetyrules.net.


Related Topics: child safety restraint systems, wheelchairs

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