Where innovation meets inclusivity, technology helps improve the school bus ride experience for student passengers.  -  Image: Canva

Where innovation meets inclusivity, technology helps improve the school bus ride experience for student passengers.

Image: Canva

The modern special-needs school bus is a meeting of innovation and inclusivity, with technologies that make it safer, more accessible, and more comfortable for student passengers, as well as providing peace of mind for their families.

Some technologies aboard the special-needs bus include:

  • Wheelchair lifts.
  • Wheelchair stations.
  • Wheelchair restraint systems.
  • Child safety restraint systems.
  • Safety vests.
  • Evacuation blankets.

Wheelchair Lifts

BraunAbility Millennium Series NL-2  -  Image: BraunAbility

BraunAbility Millennium Series NL-2

Image: BraunAbility

Power lifts are mechanized platforms that grant access to the bus for an occupied mobility aid or wheelchair. They offer a smooth and safe boarding process, reducing potential discomfort or challenges that students might otherwise face while trying to board the school bus. BraunAbility’s Millennium Series NL-2 lift is ADA-compliant for use in school buses, cutaways, and paratransit vans. It can handle up to 800 pounds.

Wheelchair Stations

 

Q'Straint One  -  Image: Q'Straint

Q'Straint One

Image: Q'Straint

These devices provide a footprint for securement of wheelchairs while a special-needs school bus is in motion. They enhance stability and security for students in wheelchairs, while also promoting inclusivity. The Q’Straint One, for example, replaces traditional 4-point securement with a simplified station.

Wheelchair Restraint Systems

 

AMF Bruns Protektor PlatinumSeries  -  Image: AMF Bruns

AMF Bruns Protektor PlatinumSeries

Image: AMF Bruns

These systems help secure wheelchairs aboard special-needs school buses. The Protektor PlatinumSeries by AMF Bruns provides a 4-point safety system with retractors attached to the bus floor.

Child Safety Restraint Systems

 

BESI Pro Tech II  -  Image: BESI

BESI Pro Tech II

Image: BESI

Any device that’s designed for use in a school bus to restrain, seat, or position a child. These can include harnesses, adaptive seat belts, and other restraint systems. They offer protection by preventing too much movement and reducing the risk of injury if the bus suddenly stops or turns. The BESI Pro Tech II, for example, accommodates children between 25 and 65 pounds. Its height can be adjusted to varying torso heights.

Safety Vests

 

EZ-ON Max2  -  Image: EZ-ON

EZ-ON Max2

Image: EZ-ON

These vests, which provide stability and security, may be necessary for students who have difficulty staying upright on the bus seat. In ideal circumstances, the vest becomes part of a routine for the students who need them, allowing for a sense of predictability and structure during bus routes. That’s especially valuable for students with autism or sensory sensitivities who might find comfort in routines. The EZ-ON Max2 vest is for passengers who weigh more than 31 pounds.

Evacuation Blankets

When a child is too heavy or has uncontrollable movements that make it difficult to safely carry them, these special blankets can be used for evacuation. These should be stored in easily accessible locations and inspected regularly to make sure they’re in good condition and undamaged.

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