Drivers depend on car seats to keep babies safe. However, according to some experts, only 15% of the car seats are correctly installed guaranteeing the safety and protection of the child.
Before you start installing a car seat in the school bus, know the type of car seats you have. Is it a rear-facing car seat or a front-facing one? Next, take a look at its design to understand if it has to be fixed to the school bus’ seat belt, or the anchor belts attached to the car seat, or to both.
Let us look deeply onto it.
Installing a Rear-Facing Car Seats in School Bus
Step 1: The carrier and the base are two different parts and must be separated. You need to install the base as this is what will remain in the car.
Go through the manufacturer’s instructions to understand how the carrier can be removed from the base. Generally, this is done with the help of a lever or button placed at the base.
Step 2: Check for the belts attached to the base. Some car seats have a belt with two hooks that can latch onto the designated spots near the seat belt area of your vehicle. If these are the kind of belts in your car seat, snap the hooks onto the metal bars of your school bus’ seat.
- Make sure the base is resting right against the seat. Tighten the anchor belt in case of a gap.
- Check the instructional manual to ensure that this is the way the base has to be fixed.
- Some car seats have another belt that needs to go through the car seat to secure the base and provide additional security.
If the car seat which you are going to install does not have an anchor belt with hooks, it will have a buckle to securely put through the school bus’ belt opening. The seatbelt must go through straight without any twists or turns.
- Check the manual thoroughly to understand where the belt has to be attached in case of doubt.
- Every school bus and every car seat is different and, therefore, the manufacturer’s manual must be referred to.
- A car seat that is not properly latched can be dangerous since the child is at the risk of getting injured.
Step 3: Fix the infant carrier onto the base. The direction of the carrier must be such that the child is facing the rear side. When the base and carrier are correctly fitted, you must hear a click sound. You can practice placing and separating the carrier a couple of times to know how it’s done.
Step 4: Check the angle of the base. Rear-facing car seats can be adjusted to different angles. Young infants need a more reclined position as it helps them to breathe properly.
- Car seat carriers have level indicators to help you understand which is right for your child. Read the level and check if this is right as per your child’s weight/age/height.
- Alter the base angle if you feel your child is not comfortable.
- Always change the angle as your child grows.
Installation a Front Facing Car Seats in School Bus
Step 1: Take the seat belt through the car seat. Front facing car seats have openings at the back or bottom through which a seat belt needs to pass.
This seat belt must be buckled into the school bus’ seat on the other side. Once the belt has passed through and you’ve buckled it, push it down and pull to ensure that it has locked well. Check that the belt is straight and there are no twists or bundling.
Step 2: Some car seat designs include an attached tether. This can be taken over the top of the vehicle’s seat to latch on the anchor behind the seat. If your car seat and vehicle’s seat both support this locking, attach the tether to the anchor and tighten.
If the tether is not attached, you need to use latches to secure the car seat. Check the bottom of the car seat for two buckles with hooks.
These should latch onto the designated spots of the school bus seat where the back and bottom join. Tighten the belt in a manner that the back of the car seat is snug against the back of the vehicle’s seat and the base is snug to the base.
Proper installation of the car seat in school bus is not enough to ensure the safety of the child while traveling. There are a few other factors that you must keep in mind to ensure that the child remains uninjured on the school bus journey. Here’s what you must check:
- Choose the right spot to fix the car seat. Child car seats should not be installed in the first few or last rows of the school bus. This is because these seats are unsafe and experience more jerks than the middle rows.
The seat must fit well according to the dimensions of your vehicle’s seat. At any point in time, the base of the car seat must not move more than 1 inch.
Pull and push your car seat in different directions after installation to check this movement and in case the car seat is moving a lot, do not place the child in it. Tighten the belts to first fix the car seat correctly.
Use the shoulder straps and lap harness to buckle the child into the seat. The child must not be left loosely in the seat. The chest clip must also be buckled properly.
Tighten all the belts to make sure that your child is safe and comfortable as well. Please ensure that none of the straps are twisted or bundled.
Keep the instructions manual handy to be sure that you have done everything correctly. Student safety in the car seat is in your hands and you must double check everything.