Child care is full of challenges. There’s a lot that goes into running a daycare or childcare facility, and one of those things is getting the children where they need to go. It might be a bus bringing them from school to your center, or it might be taking them on a field trip to have some fun. Getting kids from Point A to Point B can be quite the ordeal—there are lots of potential risks associated with childcare transportation. Whatever the need for transportation or buses might be, there are a few important things to keep in mind to make the process as safe as possible. Just a few simple steps can significantly reduce the chances of something catastrophic happening.
We’ve put together six tips for safe childcare transportation:
Make sure the vehicles themselves are in good shape and are right for the job. Check that the drivers are trustworthy.
Using the right kind of transportation is vitally important. It’s best to use a vehicle created with school-bus standards in mind, as these are safer than large vans. Big, fifteen-seater vans have a high risk of rolling. Also, make sure that all of the vehicles or buses used by your facility are in good repair. There shouldn’t be any mechanical issues with your buses.
Do a check of all your drivers and be sure that they’re trustworthy to be around the kids. They should hold a valid license, be a seasoned and safe driver, and have no criminal record. Keep copies of their license and vehicle insurance.
Ensure that there’s adequate supervision.
The driver can’t be responsible for watching the children and watching the road at the same time. Make sure that there are enough chaperones to supervise the children on the bus. There are usually state-mandated child-to-adult ratios when it comes to childcare, so be sure to follow these guidelines. Also, be sure that the staff or chaperones assisting with transporting the children will stay with them until the kids are met by the person or persons who will be responsible for them at their destination (if the bus chaperones aren’t staying.)
Be mindful of the drop-off and pick-up location.
As we mentioned above, having proper supervision for the little ones is vital. This is especially true when it comes to getting on and off the bus. There can be a lot of activity (and excited kids) when the time comes to unload at your daycare, so be sure that you’re keeping an eye on the bus and the kids at the designated drop-off spot.
If parents are picking up or dropping off their kids, this is another time to have plenty of supervision to be sure that you’re aware of what’s happening outside of your facility.
Create a standard procedure for unloading the bus.
Educate your staff as to the proper protocol for getting the children from the bus to the daycare. There should be a consistent routine for doing so, as this minimizes mistakes and keeps everything more organized. Make sure that everyone is clear on their jobs and what to do if they think something is wrong.
Check the bus.
This can’t be stressed enough. Make absolutely sure that there are no children left in the vehicle by doing a thorough check of the bus, including any potential hiding places. If possible, it’s best to have multiple people conduct their own checks to be sure that no one’s left on-board—this increases the chances of finding any stragglers, or any children who may have fallen asleep during the ride. Remember that overheated or freezing vehicles can claim a child’s life if they’re forgotten on the bus.
Also, there should be a roll call with the children’s names to be sure that nobody’s missing. Having a written list provides a record that shows that the check has been done.
Use proper seat restraint equipment.
Make sure that your buses are equipped with appropriate seat restraints for the age of the children you’re transporting. The right car seat or seat belt should always be used, whether this is a toddler seat, booster seat, or a standard shoulder and lap belt. This rule should never be bent, and the safety restraint should match up with the child’s age, height, and weight.
Transportation provides its own set of risks and potential hazards. Never skimp on safety precautions when it comes to your buses or vehicles, and never tolerate a violation of proper safety protocol. Taking the time for safety can avert disaster. If you own or operate a daycare, be sure that you have the proper coverages. Complete our online quote form to connect with our commercial team, who can review your current coverages and help find you a policy and price that works for you.