• Are buses and child seats safe enough? Beacon Hill debates

    By: Stephanie Coueignoux

    Updated:

    BOSTON - Thousands of students in Massachusetts take school buses every day, but just how safe are they?

    Representative Antonio Cabral says they aren’t safe enough. He petitioned lawmakers on Beacon Hill to require lap-shoulder seat belts on every public school bus Tuesday. 

    And he wants this to happen by 2021. 

    “This is about saving our own children,” said Cabral. “The fate of our community.”

    Cabral says it could cost between $11,000 and $13,000 to add seat belts to a new bus.

    “My question is: aren't our children worth those $11,000? In my opinion, they are,” said Cabral. 

    Cabral says retrofitting them would be too expensive, but he hopes his four year timeline would give the state enough time to replace older models.

    Tuesday, he joint committee of public safety and homeland security also listened to a bill on child safety seats.

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    In Massachusetts, there are now laws when it comes to rear facing car seats. Even though for years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has said they can save lives.

    Rear facing child seats provide better support to an infant’s head, neck and spine.  

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    “All of the science shows that they are safer if they are rear facing,” explained Rep. Clair Cronin, who sponsored House Bill 1243. 

    Under the proposal, a child must be in a rear facing infant seat if they are under 2 years old and less than 30 pounds. 

    “It's no added cost to parents. It's no burden. But we all know the research and data shows it's safer,” said Cronin. 

    Both bills are now under consideration.

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