Transporting kids to and from childcare facilities is part of an everyday routine for some providers. When parents trust you with this responsibility, they expect you to take every precaution necessary to get their tykes where they need to go safely. Here are some basic rules to follow when you’re transporting kids to and from your childcare facility.
Use approved car restraints. The type of child restraint you use will depend on the age of the children you transport. The Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests using booster seats for children weighing between 40 and 80 pounds, rear-facing car seats for infants, forward facing car seats for toddlers, and seatbelts for kids eight and older.
Keep vehicle in good condition. If you’re transporting children in a vehicle that’s barely chugging along, you could end up on the side of the road. This puts kids’ safety at risk because it leaves them at the mercy of strangers.
Follow the rules of the road. Traffic laws are there to keep drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe. Doing things like running red lights, ignoring the speed limit, ignoring traffic signs, swerving in and out of lanes, and tail gaiting can increase your risk of having an accident and injuring the kids you’re transporting.
Keep your eyes on the road. Talking on cell phones, texting, programming GPS devices, and eating while driving are disturbingly common. Anything that takes your attention off the road, even for a second, can increase your risk of having an accident. When you’re driving kids to and from your childcare program, keep 100 percent of your focus on the road.
Have proper insurance coverage. If you transport kids back and forth to your childcare program, having insurance that will cover medical costs if they are injured in an accident is important. Most states have laws that determine the minimum amount of liability insurance you must have before you can transport children.
Have a valid driver’s license. If you have an accident and you’re driving without a license, in some states your insurance may not cover the medical costs of injured children. This means that some of the kids may not get the medical care they need if parents are unable to pay out of pocket. In addition, if you’re caught transporting kids without a driver’s license, you could face hefty fines, lawsuits, and jail time.
Double check the vehicle after unloading. There have been several instances where small children have been accidentally left in buses and vans. Unfortunately, some of these kids died as a result of extreme temperatures. Always double check and make sure all of the kids are out of the vehicle before you lock up.
Transporting kids to and from your childcare facility is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Improve your chances of keeping them safe by following the guidelines that are listed above.