School buses are the safest form of transportation for children. They are considered to be seven times safer than a car or other private passenger vehicle.1 For children and families living in poverty, transportation is often a major barrier to accessing community services, such as early care and education. Two-thirds of Head Start programs meet the needs of families by transporting more than a quarter of a million Head Start and Early Head Start children every year.2
Ensuring the safety of children is the highest priority of the Office of Head Start OHS. Unfortunately, some programs have experienced a transportation-related incident, such as children being:
- Left on a bus
- Released to an unapproved guardian at the bus stop
- Sent home on the wrong bus
- Left alone in a car while the parent or family member is in the Head Start center
While the broader community may believe these are isolated cases of human error, these occurrences represent serious, systemic failures within a Head Start grantees program operations. Head Start agencies providing transportation services are responsible for ensuring the safe transportation of children to and from programs and local field trips. Human error is inevitable, but grantees protect children’s safety by having proactive plans and redundant systems in place.
Source: Office of Head Start