WIMMERA students under seven could have to provide their own booster seats on school buses in a move to improve safety.
The State Government announced in July that all new and replacement school buses would be fitted with seatbelts.
But a report by consulting firm Deloitte also proposed the idea of using booster seats for smaller passengers.
The move would follow South Australian policy, where principals can invite parents to supply a booster seat for a small child.
Public Transport Victoria communications adviser Helen Witton said the transport authority had not decided whether students needed booster seats.
“Immediate actions being undertaken by Public Transport Victoria include a detailed analysis of the school bus fleet and the examination of current safety regulations and policies, such as the responsibility for enforcement of proper seatbelt use on school buses, and the requirement for children under seven to use a booster seat, and how this could be addressed,” she said.
Horsham West and Haven Primary School assistant principal Dino McMillan said booster seats could annoy bus drivers.
“I think having seatbelts is definitely a good thing but I am not sure about the booster seats,” she said.
“Some of the younger children would need help with using them and school bags are big enough for them, so a booster seat could be a bit difficult to manage.
“A seatbelt around them would give them some form of protection.”
Warracknabeal Primary School principal David Baxter said bus companies should provide the booster seats rather than parents.
“It would be a hassle for young students to be dragging a seat to school and back each day,” he said.
“We think the responsibility would be with the bus line if that is what’s required, because they are transporting the children.
“The problem there, is knowing how many they would need and where they would store them; all those factors would have to be sorted out.”
The proposal raised a number of questions for Haven mum Kerrie Flett, whose daughter Lily is in prep at Haven Primary School.
“I definitely think seatbelts are a good thing but they could possibly put in some more specialised harnesses rather than booster seats,” she said.
“What are the kids going to do with the booster seats during the day and who is going to fit them at the end of the school day?”
The Wimmera could have a longer wait for buses with seatbelts after Deloitte’s report listed Geelong, the Otways, Ballarat, Mount Dandenong, Lilydale, Mornington Peninsula and the Alpine Ranges as top priorities.
“As part of the school bus fleet analysis, Public Transport Victoria is investigating the potential to reallocate school buses, fitted with seatbelts, to run in these regions first,” Ms Witton said.
“A major driver for this priority was the presence of heavy vehicles, unsealed roads, speed limits, length and weather.”