Traveling with a child seat on the school bus
The bus is one of the safest ways of traveling on the roads. It is five to six times safer than traveling by car, and despite the dramatic news we see about accidents in the news, causing public alarm, the reality is that there are very rarely any fatalities. In 2015, school buses were involved in 27 accidents (14 on intercity routes and 13 on city roads), in which no one died, although nine people were injured.
The majority of injuries caused in a bus accident, whether a school bus or any another type of bus, are due to not using a seat belt. Since 2007, any bus that is not equipped with restraint systems is not given a license. These systems are increasingly widespread, although on non-school services their use is relatively low (about 20 percent if no announcement is made to the passengers that they must be used).
In the case of children, school buses (4 MB) should be equipped with seat belts and teachers, monitors and drivers are responsible for ensuring that the children fasten their seat belts and that they remain seated and in the right position.
There is nothing in Spanish law about children under three years old, who are still not of school age and for whom we can find other restraint options, as explained in this article. However, for children of school age over three years old, there is a specific regulation in place: the Spanish General Traffic Regulation indicates that on buses (vehicles designed for transporting passengers which have more than nine seats), children over three years old must use an approved restraint system appropriate for their weight and height. When these systems are not available, the seat belts must be used, provided that they are suitable for the child’s height and weight.
Using a child car seat is not prohibited, nor is it obligatory. It is simply subject to the availability of an adequate seat, that it fits well on the seat, and it does not encroach on neighboring seats. There is an approved seat for buses in Europe for installation in certain models of bus seats (it is not UNIVERSAL), and approved for a Group II seat, which means that it is suitable for children from 15 to 25 kilos. In addition, it is foldable and flexible and thus can be easily transported.