Passenger Safety

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) website provides a quick reference for the proper use of child car seats and booster seats. Head Start program directors, health managers, and parents can determine the type of car or booster seat a child requires based on the child’s height, weight, and age. Posters and other promotional materials to encourage the use of appropriate child safety seats also are offered.

Safety Practices

Early childhood programs keep children safe when their facilities, materials, and equipment are hazard-free and all staff use safety practices such as active supervision. Find resources to help staff and families reduce the number and severity of childhood injuries everywhere that children learn and grow. Discover tips for use at home, in cars and buses, on the playground, and in all early childhood settings.

Interior Temperature of Vehicles

The interior of vehicles used to transport children for field trips and out-of-program activities should be maintained at a temperature comfortable to children. All vehicles should be locked when not in use, head counts of children should be taken before and after transporting to prevent a child from being left in a vehicle, and children should never be left in a vehicle unattended.

Passenger Vans

Early care and education programs that provide transportation for any purpose to children, parents/guardians, staff, and others should not use 15-passenger vans when avoidable.

Child Passenger Safety

When children are driven in a motor vehicle other than a bus, all children should be transported only if they are restrained in a developmentally appropriate car safety seat, booster seat, seat belt, or harness that is suited to the child's weight and age in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations. The child should be securely fastened, according to the manufacturer's instructions. The child passenger restraint system should meet the federal motor vehicle safety standards contained in 49 CFR 571.213 and carry notice of compliance. Child passenger restraint systems should be installed and used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and should be secured in back seats only.

Transportation

Head Start programs are not required to provide transportation services. However, when they do provide those services, they must comply with key regulations. Explore these resources to support programs in the safe and efficient movement of children from one point to another.