Child Seat Anchorages for School Buses

This archived article is from October 2006. Although every effort has been made to make sure the information presented is accurate, please note that it may contain information that is out-of-date.

As of April 1, 2007, Transport Canada will require all new school buses to accommodate infant and child seats. Depending on the size of the bus, between two and eight seats will be fitted with user-ready tether and lower universal anchorages on bench seats.

School buses are already a very safe way for children to travel. Transport Canada requires the seats to be made of energy-absorbing material. This provides effective passive protection known as compartmentalization.

Small and pre-school aged children are now riding on school buses more frequently. While bus seats protect school-age children effectively, allowing the use of child seats should make it even safer for children weighing less than 18 kilograms.

Under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, Transport Canada sets safety regulations for new and imported vehicles. Top tether anchorages have been standard in passenger cars for fifteen years. Lower universal anchorages have been mandatory since 2002, enabling parents or caregivers to secure child car seats in place. The new regulations extend these requirements to school bus seats.

School bus operators have a few concerns. Who will purchase the seats? Who will be responsible for buckling and unbuckling the children? How much time will it take? (School buses run on a tight schedule.) When it comes to implementation, details must still be worked out in consultation with the service providers.