Notably, a recent study found that a key factor influencing the accelerated risk of harm to children in accidents is moving the child prematurely from a child restraint system up to an adult seat and then granting the child to sit in the front seat too soon.
Washington law also requires that young kids under the age of 13 must sit in the back seat of the automobile “when it is sensible to do so.” Presumably, this means that a child under age 13 will have to sit in the back seat if it is reasonably possible to do so.
AAP guidelines also advocate that children under the age of 13 sit in the back seat regardless of whether or not the vehicle is equipped with a passenger-side air bag. The age of 13 may appear to be an arbitrary figure, but studies show that most children at this age are still smaller than the average adult. To eliminate the risk of damage, it makes sense that the law requires children under this age to sit in the rear of the vehicle.
On the other hand, children are not required to wear seat belts while riding on a school bus.
The NHTSA has stated that school buses already have “built-in protection” for children based on the special construction and size of bus seats, so that seat belt restraints are irrelevant. However, school bus crashes taking place at speeds greater than 35 mph still pose a profound risk of harm to children who are riding on the bus.
Certain safety measures can shrink the chance for injuries in bus accidents. If your child’s bus does not have safety belts, teach your child to ride near the front of the bus and to never stand in the bus while it is moving. Studies have shown that two children riding on a bench seat have a lower risk of injury than three occupants riding in the same seat.