Update December 2019.
We developed this decision making tool (scroll down – the link is at the bottom!) with the help of a wonderful CPST and parent, after she experienced frustration and anxiety while wondering if her child would be safely seated in someone else’s vehicle for a school field trip. We did some research and discovered there’s a wide range of policies regarding school transportation in BC and beyond, leaving kids potentially unsafe and parent drivers and school boards in a risky position from a liability perspective.
Sometimes the answer is a school bus, which eliminates much of the worry for older kids, but for those with tiny kindergarten kids even bus-riding can pose some challenges. Please be in touch if you have bus questions.
This tool is a yes/no decision-making tree and can be used for field trips where there are parent drivers, carpool situations, or any transportation scenario. It’s quick and to the point, and easy to follow. It focuses primarily on school-aged kids but doesn’t break down how to determine if a child ought to be rear- or forward-facing in a harness — that’s just too much to cover with this one simple tool. Page 2 of the Tree shows examples of good and poor belt fit — thank you to M. Robertson for the artwork.
Please share and reproduce it. Please ask questions if you have a particular transportation scenario that is challenging — maybe we can find a seating solution you haven’t considered. It’s very difficult to cover every possibility in a chart like this but DOES address booster or belt very well, from a best practice perspective.
Other helpful resources you can look at here are our list of favourite booster seats, a breakdown of the 5-step test for seat belt readiness, a descriptive article to guide you when deciding on a harness or a booster, and a visual of what a good booster fit looks like versus a poor one.
Click on the below link to open the Decision Making Tool as a pdf: