Child safety in buses vs cars

by Peggie Mars, Wheel Well
Child safety in buses vs cars
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Child safety is of paramount importance when it comes to traveling with young passengers. However, you might wonder why child safety seats and boosters are not necessary in buses but are essential in cars. This article aims to shed light on the key reasons behind this distinction. Peggie Mars of Wheel Well, BYY’s car safety expert, breaks it down.

Buses have advantages when it comes to passenger safety. In the United States, where they have a federal school bus system, only 0.1% of child passenger deaths were due to buses. Why is this?

Protective design

Buses are designed with safety in mind, especially for their passengers, who often include children. The protective design of buses typically includes reinforced steel frames and high seat backs. This structural design provides a certain level of built-in protection, which is not the case for cars. The protective design of buses helps mitigate the need for additional child safety seats.


Buses employ a concept known as “compartmentalisation.” The seats on buses are closely spaced and have high backs, creating protective barriers in the event of a collision. This setup helps distribute the force of an impact more evenly, reducing the risk of injury. In contrast, cars do not offer the same level of built-in compartmentalisation, necessitating child safety seats for adequate protection.

Experienced drivers

Bus drivers are typically experienced professionals who undergo training and are held to higher standards. Their training includes specific protocols for ensuring passenger safety. With skilled drivers at the wheel, the need for additional child safety seats in buses is reduced, as the drivers play a significant role in minimising collision risks.

Size & weight advantage

Buses are substantially larger and heavier than cars. This size and weight advantage inherently provides better protection in the event of a collision. In a collision between a bus and a car, the bus will win. The occupants on a bus, including children, benefit from the bus’s substantial structure. The size and weight of buses make them inherently safer than regular cars for passengers of all ages.


The high visibility of buses on the road is a crucial safety aspect. Their size and reflective materials make them easily noticeable, reducing the likelihood of collisions. This visibility ensures that other drivers can identify buses and take necessary precautions, even when buses are stopping or slowing down. This high visibility is a protective feature that is not as prominent in cars.

Lower speeds

Buses typically operate at lower speeds to regular cars. This lower speed translates to reduced force and impact in case of a collision. The cautious driving habits of bus drivers contribute to the overall safety of passengers, including children. Lower speeds mean a lesser likelihood of sudden and severe collisions.

While child safety seats remain essential in cars, the distinctive features of buses contribute to reducing the need for such additional safety measures. Nonetheless, parents and caregivers should always prioritise child safety, regardless of the mode of transportation, by adhering to seat belt regulations and other safety guidelines.

Also read Car safety tips for your family
Visit the Car checks you must do before holiday

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