Requring the use of safety belts on buses “not only prevent injuries related to crashes,” they could also keep kids seated “so they’re not falling out of their seats when buses make normal turns or brake.
A study just published in the medical journal Pediatrics found that over 51,000 children required emergency medical attention for non-fatal school bus-related injuries over a three-year period.
This is the first study using national data to quantify nonfatal school bus-related injuries to children and teenagers treated in US hospital emergency departments. The study identified a much larger annual number of school bus-related injuries to children than reported previously, and should prompt debate about mandating seat belts on school buses. This is particularly so given that head injuries accounted for more than half (52.1%) of all injuries reported among children under 10 years of age.
The lead author of the study, Jennifer McGeehan, says that requiring installation and use of safety belts on buses
could “not only prevent injuries related to crashes,” they could also keep kids seated “so they’re not falling out of their seats when buses make normal turns or brake…Our study shows that there needs to be continued vigilance on school bus safety,” McGeehan said.
Study co-author Gary Smith, Director of The Center For Injury Research and Policy commented in ScienceDaily that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury, and that the new data points to the need for further study:
” Further research is needed to determine the relative contributions of structural and operational components of the school bus, supervision, and rider behavior to the occurrence of these injuries and the effectiveness of occupant restraint systems and other strategies to prevent these types of injuries.”
Parents need to become advocates and raise this issue at the local level.