Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 6: Play Areas/Playgrounds and Transportation

6.5 Transportation

6.5.2 Transportation Safety Child Behavior During Transportation

COVID-19 modification as of August 10, 2022.

After reading the CFOC standard, see COVID-19 modification below (Also consult applicable state licensure and public health requirements).

Children, as both passengers and pedestrians, should be instructed in safe transportation behavior using terms and concepts appropriate for their age and stage of development.

COVID-19 modification as of August 10, 2022:

In response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s COVID-19 Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Child Care Programs, it is recommended that early childhood programs consult local health officials and other state, local, tribal and territorial authorities, to the extent feasible, when making decisions about transporting children. Use the CDC’s COVID-19 CDC Data tracker for up-to-date information on transmission in your community. 

When transporting children:

  • Allow fresh air to pass through the vehicle through vents or windows while transporting children in and out of vehicles as weather permits.
  • Minimize contact between vehicle drivers, other staff , and families. Adults should stay as far apart from each other as possible.
  • ECE programs should supply face coverings and hand hygiene supplies. Children (2 years and older) and staff are required to wear a face covering and use hand sanitizer when boarding the vehicle/bus.   
  • Conduct a health check of all children and staff before they board the vehicle. Do not transport individuals who show signs of illness.
  • Load children into the back of the bus first to reduce contact.
  • Position children as far apart as possible on vehicles, . If children are coming from the same home, they may sit together. If possible, ensure children sit as far apart as possible from the vehicle operator.
  • Reroute or stagger bus runs, where possible, to keep group size small and minimize potential exposure between children.
  • Keep class groups together on bus runs to minimize potential exposure between different groups of children.
  • Use visible cues, such as stickers on the floors, to guide children and offer gentle prompts to help them understand the new protocols.

Clean Vehicles Between Each Use

  • Transportation staff should clean and disinfect vehicles between each use. Refer to CDC's recommended process using products that are U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19. Make sure all surfaces are dry before children enter vehicles to prevent contact with chemicals.
  • For seatbelts, and other child safety restraints, programs should use methods and products that are effective on COVID-19 and safe for use with the restraint system, particularly seatbelt webbing. Chlorine- or ammonia-based solutions may cause deterioration of safety restraint components and cannot be used. For cleaning guidelines, consult the vehicle or restraint system manufacturer.


Additional Resources:

Refer to the CDC for additional information, particularly:

American Academy of Pediatrics. COVID-19 and Safe Transportation in Motor Vehicles

Office of Head Start. Head Start Transportation Services and Vehicles During the COVID-19 Pandemic - ACF-IM-HS-20-04


Teaching passenger safety to children reduces injury from motor vehicle crashes to young children (2). Young children need to develop skills that will aid them in assuming responsibility for their own health and safety, and these skills can be developed through health and safety education implemented during the early years (1,3). Supervision of children will help to reinforce appropriate behaviors.
Examples of safe behavior training include wearing seat belts and staying in position. Curricula and materials can be obtained from state departments of transportation, the American Automobile Association (AAA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Red Cross, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
  1. Lehman, G. R., E. S. Geller. 1990. Participative education for children: An effective approach to increase safety belt use. J Appl Behav Anal 23:219-25.
  2. Windome, M. D., ed. 1997. Injury prevention and control for children and youth. 3rd ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
  3. Kane, W. M., K. E. Herrera. 1993. Safety is no accident: Children’s activities in injury prevention. Santa Cruz, CA: ETR Associates.

COVID-19 modification as of August 10, 2022.