New York State - Children’s School Bus Legal Requirements

school bus

School buses is a very safe type of transportation, yet accidents do happen. Taking a school bus to and from school is statistically safer than driving by car, public transportation, bicycle or walking. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), 10 to 20 children die each year on school transportation cars, which is less than one percent of all traffic fatalities across the country. 

From 2008 to 2017, 97 kids died in school transportation. Most accidents happen because of the mistakes of other vehicles (private cars, vans, large trucks and motorcycles). According to DOT data, nearly 50 percent of fatalities happened to kids aged from four to ten years old  which proves us the importance of safety regulations for smaller children. In addition to kids about 1,000 adults died in the same period from School Bus Related Crashes. Read more here.



To improve safety, The National Highway Safety Administration, are continually implementing regulation to keep passengers safe and it is important to keep up to date. The regulations much depend on school bus size, children’s age and weight. In addition the New York State has implemented other rules for kids car seats and seat belts. Here at Bookbuses, your safety is our first priority.

Safety regulations for children under 4 y.o


Car Seats Requirements on School Buses - NY State - Under 4 years.

All children under the age of four must travel using a car seat.

All children under the age of four must travel using a car seat on a school bus. For kindergarten aged kids aged four and older, the state still recommends to add additional protection and encourage teachers and parents to ensure that kids are secured by either car seats, seat belts or other types of child restraints.

Furthermore, kids aged four and older, must use car seats on school buses, if the child weighs under 50 pounds. Kids over 50 pounds can travel without a car seat. 

Safety regulations for children over 4 y.o


Seat Belts Requirements on School Buses

There are no legal requirements for using seat belts on normal sized school buses, but it is highly recommended. However, Section 383 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law requires seat belts for school buses which weigh less than 10,000 pounds - usually designed for 10-18 passengers. Since the sizes and weights of smaller school buses are closer to passenger cars, using seat belts is necessary to provide children’s safety on a bus.

School Buses - the safest transportation for children

Students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely using the Yellow School Bus. That is because of the few reasons:

  • School Buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road.They are designed to protect children from any kind of injuries under all circumstances (highly visible, flashing red lights, mirrors, stop signs, etc.)

  • School Buses are Protected by the Law. It is illegal for other vehicles to pass the school bus, while students are getting on or off the school bus.

  • Compartmentalization. School buses protect school aged children without seat belts by a special interior and exterior design of a bus. If sitting properly in a seat, the space around the child will protect him/her in case of a crash or sudden stop. However, some kind of school buses will have seat belts on (for transporting smaller kids, or because the size of the bus is not big enough to protect children).

  • Safety Drills. All students must know the safety rules, when getting on and off the bus, how to react in case of a crash/emergency situation, how to behave on a bus.

What do I do if I need to rent a School Bus for preschool aged children?

You may talk to one of our booking specialists, by calling us on (646) 801 6280. Consider giving us all the necessary information, such as what is the children’s age, special requirements, etc. We will make sure that your bus is equipped with seat belts and/or special restraints for car seats.

Outside New York? 49 States has additional rules for school buses so be sure to double check the rules for transporting preschool kids and stay safe.