School systems are responsible for ensuring that children with special needs are safely transported on all forms of federally approved transportation provided by the school system, and a plan should be developed to provide the most current and proper support to children with special transportation requirements. This statement provides current guidelines for the protection of child passengers with specific health care needs, including those with a tracheostomy, those requiring use of car seats, or those transported in wheelchairs. Guidelines that apply to general school transportation should be followed, including the training of staff, provision of nurses or aides if needed, establishment of a written emergency evacuation plan, and a comprehensive infection control program.
Research provides the basis for recommendations concerning occupant securement for children in wheelchairs and children with other special needs who are transported on a school bus. Pediatricians can help their patients by being aware of guidelines for restraint systems for children with special needs and by remaining informed of new resources. Pediatricians can also play an important role at the state and local level in the development of school bus specifications.