The National Safety Council now advocates the installation and proper use of lap-shoulder belts on new school buses.

The National Safety Council now advocates the installation and proper use of lap-shoulder belts on new school buses.

ITASCA, Ill. — The National Safety Council (NSC) last week issued a series of child safety-related recommendations that includes an endorsement of lap-shoulder belts on school buses.

NSC, which is a nonprofit organization with the goal of preventing injuries and deaths, described its new position statement as a call for “uniform child passenger safety practices across multiple modes of transportation, including school buses, airplanes, and personal vehicles.”

"Our patchwork system of laws, regulations, and standards means the safety of our most vulnerable travelers can slip through the cracks," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, NSC president and CEO. "It is time for consistent policies to ensure children arrive safely, regardless of the mode of transportation or the jurisdiction they travel through."

Among its recommendations, NSC advocates the installation and proper use of three-point, lap-shoulder belts on new school buses, along with proper restraints for children with special needs. The council said that while school buses are the safest way to transport children to and from school, “seat belts add an extra layer of protection, particularly in rollover and side-impact crashes.”

With its new position on school bus seat belts, NSC aligns itself with statements by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2015 and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in 2013. Before joining NSC in 2014, Hersman served as chairman of NTSB.

NSC’s new position statement also includes a call for children ages 2 and younger who travel in airplanes to be properly restrained in their own seat using a Federal Aviation Administration-approved child restraint device. The council also encourages ambulances, police vehicles, and recreational vehicles to accommodate the needs of child passengers whenever possible.

For more details on the NSC recommendations, see the position statement here.

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