November 23, 2004

Government to mandate child seat tethers and anchorages in school buses

Ottawa, Ontario – New school buses operating in Canada will soon be even safer under a proposal announced today by Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre that will require them to be equipped with attachments for infant or child seats.

“Transport Canada takes safety seriously,” said Mr. Lapierre. ” While school buses are already a safe way for children to travel, this proposal will make them even safer by enabling the use of infant and child seats.”

Transport Canada requires school bus seats to be made of energy-absorbing materials, which provide effective passive protection or compartmentalization. However, Transport Canada research has shown that while bus seats protect school-age children effectively, small or pre-school aged children would benefit from the protection of a properly installed infant or child seat.

Therefore, the department is proposing to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations to require all bench seats on new school buses to be equipped with user-ready tether and lower universal anchorages, to which child car seats can be attached. The new regulations are designed specifically to give greater protection to children weighing 18 kg (40 lbs.) or less while they are travelling on school buses.

Under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, Transport Canada establishes safety regulations for new and imported vehicles. These regulations cover the vehicle’s original equipment, child restraint systems and tires. Fifteen years ago, Transport Canada began requiring top tether anchorages to be standard in passenger cars, while lower universal anchorages have been required since 2002, enabling parents or caregivers to secure child car seats in place. The new regulations will extend these requirements to school bus seats.

The proposed changes were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I on November 20, 2004. Interested parties will be given 75 days to comment. After consideration of the comments, the regulations will be finalized and published in the Canada Gazette, Part II.

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