School Bus Safety

Transportation Safety, Injury Prevention & Safety, Info for Health Professionals

School buses are the safest way to transport children to and from school. Children are rarely injured while riding in a school bus in Canada. School buses are built to protect children – their size, weight, colour, lights and safety features offer good protection to passengers. Although many school buses do not have seat belts, the high, padded seat backs create a cushioned compartment designed to prevent serious injuries and deaths if the bus is involved in a collision, particularly in a front- or rear-end crash. 

Despite the safety features of school buses, injuries from school bus incidents do occur. The biggest risk to school bus passengers is during the loading and unloading of the bus. Most school bus collisions involve a bus being struck by another vehicle from behind or children being struck while exiting or approaching a school bus.

Transport Canada recognizes that, when used and installed properly, seat belts can offer an additional layer of safety on school buses. There are many safety factors to consider, such as ensuring all seat belts are adjusted properly, ensuring children are always wearing their seat belts correctly and having procedures in place to unfasten all seat belts if an emergency exit is needed. Any child passengers who weigh less than 18 kg (40 pounds) must be properly restrained on school buses in the right car seat for their weight and height. To allow the safe installation of a standard car seat, the school bus must have some seats with lower anchorage systems and tether anchors in place.

Key Messages

Recommend to your clients that:

  • Children should walk, not run, to the bus and arrive at least 5 minutes before the bus comes.
  • It’s a good idea to walk to the bus stop with their child until they know how to get there safely.
  • Children should not use an electronic device (like a cell phone or tablet) as they’re walking to or from the school bus.

For more information refer your clients to School Bus Safety found on