Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 6: Play Areas/Playgrounds and Transportation

6.5 Transportation

6.5.1 Transportation Staff Competence and Training of Transportation Staff

At least one adult who accompanies or drives children for field trips and out-of-facility activities should receive training by a professional knowledgeable about child development and procedures, to ensure the safety of all children. The caregiver should hold a valid pediatric first aid certificate, including rescue breathing and management of blocked airways, as specified in First Aid and CPR Standards Any emergency medications that a child might require, such as self-injecting epinephrine for life-threatening allergy, should also be available at all times as well as a mobile phone to call for medical assistance. Child:staff ratios should be maintained on field trips and during transport, as specified in Standards; the driver should not be included in these ratios. No child should ever be left alone in the vehicle.

All drivers, passenger monitors, chaperones, and assistants should receive instructions in safety precautions. Transportation procedures should include:

  1. Use of developmentally appropriate safety restraints;
  2. Proper placement of the child in the motor vehicle in accordance with state and federal child restraint laws and regulations and recognized best practice;
  3. Training in handling of emergency medical situations. If a child has a chronic medical condition or special health care needs that could result in an emergency (such as asthma, diabetes, or seizures), the driver or chaperone should have written instructions including parent/guardian emergency contacts, child summary health information, special needs and treatment plans, and should:
    1. Recognize the signs of a medical emergency;
    2. Know emergency procedures to follow (3);
    3. Have on hand any emergency supplies or medications necessary, properly stored out of reach of children;
    4. Know specific medication administration (ex. a child who requires EpiPen or diazepam);
    5. Know about water safety when field trip is to a location with a body of water.
  4. Knowledge of appropriate routes to emergency facility;
  5. Defensive driving;
  6. Child supervision during transport, including never leaving a child unattended in or around a vehicle;
  7. Issues that may arise in transporting children with behavioral issues (e.g., temper tantrums or oppositional behavior).

The receipt of such instructions should be documented in a personnel record for any paid staff or volunteer who participates in field trips or transportation activities.

Vehicles should be equipped with a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, seat belt cutter, and maps. At least one adult should have a functioning cell phone at hand. Information, names of the children and parent/guardian contact information should be carried in the vehicle along with identifying information (name, address, and telephone number) about the child care center.

Injuries are more likely to occur when a child’s surroundings or routine changes. Activities outside the facility may pose increased risk for injury. When children are excited or busy playing in unfamiliar areas, they are more likely to forget safety measures unless they are closely supervised at all times.

Children have died from heat stress from being left unattended in closed vehicles. Temperatures in hot motor vehicles can reach dangerous levels within fifteen minutes. Due to this danger, vehicles should be locked when not in use and checked after use to make sure no child is left unintentionally in a vehicle. Children left unattended also can be victims of backovers (when an unseen child is run over by being behind a vehicle that is backing up), power window strangulations, and other preventable injuries (1,2).

All adults cannot be assumed to be knowledgeable about the various developmental levels or special needs of children. Training by someone with appropriate knowledge and experience is needed to appropriately address these issues. This is particularly important with high incidence disabilities such as autistic spectrum disorders and ADHD.

When field trips are planned, all field trip sites should be visited by a member of the child care staff and all potential hazards identified. The child care staff should be knowledgeable about location and any emergency plans of the location. For example, if the children are taken to the zoo, the zoo will have its own emergency procedures that the child care would be expected to follow. This standard also applies when caregivers/teachers are walking with children to and from a destination.

A designated staff person should check to ensure all children safely exit the vehicle when it arrives at the designated location. This may include use of an attendance list of all children being transported so it can be checked against those who get out of the vehicle. Also, have another staff member do a thorough and complete inspection of the
vehicle to see that the vehicle is empty before locking.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has materials on child passenger safety at: as well as materials from the American Academy of Pediatrics at

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Ratios for Small Family Child Care Homes Ratios for Large Family Child Care Homes and Centers Ratios for Facilities Serving Children with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities Ratios and Supervision During Transportation Ratios and Supervision for Swimming, Wading, and Water Play First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for Staff Topics Covered in Pediatric First Aid Training Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for Swimming and Water Play Supervision Near Bodies of Water Behavior Around a Pool Availability and Use of a Telephone or Wireless Communication Device Drop-Off and Pick-Up Interior Temperature of Vehicles
  1. Guard, A., S. S. Gallagher. 2005. Heat related deaths to young children in parked cars: An analysis of 171 fatalities in the United States, 1995-2002. Injury Prevention 11:33-37.
  2. Babcock-Dunning, L., A. Guard, S. S. Gallagher, E. Streit-Kaplan. 2008. Guidelines for developing educational materials to address children unattended in vehicles. Newton, MA: Health and Human Development Programs, Education Development Center. Unattended in Vehicles.pdf.
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention, and Council on School Health. 2007. Policy statement: School transportation safety. Pediatrics 120:213-20.