Procedure for loading and unloading child care vehicles

School bus

There is no margin for error in leaving children behind in vehicles.

Procedures to assure vehicles are empty before securing them on the premises may vary slightly by vehicle. Some vehicles are more prone to having blind spots where sleeping children may not be noticed. Below you will find guidelines to prevent a child from being left behind or in a vehicle.


The most effective procedure for loading and unloading the bus ensures that everyone is accounted for. A “head-count” alone is not good enough but counting children does have its purposes.
  • Use a roster to check each child on and off the bus
  • A second employee needs to checks the attendance and sign off on the transportation log
  • After the initial roster check, adults on the vehicle will know the number of children present on the trip and should count children regularly as an additional step

Pick up and drop off

When picking up from an elementary school, the child care center will call the parent if their child is not present.

  • A list needs to be used as the children get onto the vehicle
  • Children must be checked off the list as they get off the bus
  • When the driver believes the bus is completely empty a final visual check of all seats needs to be made to make sure no child is:
    • Asleep on the floor
    • Slumped in seats
    • Or where they can't be easily seen.

Each child who was checked onto the vehicle must be checked off as having exited the vehicle. Again, there is no margin for error in leaving children behind in vehicles. With hot summer temperatures a child left sleeping in a vehicle is likely to be overcome by heat related illness in a short amount of time.

School bus

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