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17.4 Transporting Children

If the child is placed with St Christopher’s, please be aware of their procedures as well as below.

RELATED CHAPTERS

Activities Procedure


Contents

  1. General Arrangements
  2. Seat Belts and Restraints
  3. Transporting Children


1. General Arrangements

1.1 Staff and carers transporting children on behalf of the department must be aware that the behaviour of children regardless of age can be unpredictable, and transport of children needs to be carefully planned and risk assessed before it occurs (see Section 5, Risk Assessment, in the Activities Procedure).
1.2

Consideration must be given to the likelihood of predictable problems during any journey and the following must be taken into account:

  • Passenger safety;
  • Competence of the driver;
  • Awareness of driver's hours, i.e. not over the allowable amounts of time;
  • Traffic conditions;
  • Contingency funds (enough to buy food and drink and emergency supplies) and arrangements in case of breakdown/emergency;
  • Weather;
  • Journey time and distance;
  • Stopping off points for long journeys and toilet breaks - 15 minutes every 2 hours;
  • Appropriate car seats seat belts or restraints must be used and fastened (see Section 2, Seat Belts and Restraints, for requirements);
  • A working work mobile telephone should be taken and carried by the person in charge and each member of staff likely to be on their own with the child;
  • Before starting any journey, the owner of any vehicle must undertake sufficient checks to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy.


2. Seat Belts and Restraints

2.1 The following applies unless the person has a valid medical exemption, from a medical practitioner.

  Front Seat Rear Seat Whose Responsibility
Driver Adult seat belt must be worn if fitted   Driver
Child under 3 years of age Correct child restraint must be used Correct child restraint must be used. If one is not available in a taxi, may travel unrestrained Driver
Child from 3rd birthday up to 135cms in height (approx 4'5") or 12th birthday, whichever they reach first Correct child restraint must be used

Correct child restraint must be used where seat belts fitted. Must use adult belt in rear seat if correct child restraint not available:

  • In a taxi; or
  • For a short distance in an unexpected necessity; or
  • If two occupied child restraints prevent fitting of a third
Driver
Child 12 or 13, or over 135cms (approx 4ft 5ins in height) Adult seat belt must be worn Adult seat belt must be worn Driver
Adult passengers Adult seat belt must be worn Adult seat belt must be worn Passenger

2.2 Children cannot travel in contracted taxis without restraints. 
2.3 Children aged under 8 must not travel unescorted in contracted taxis or with volunteer drivers without an escort.
2.4 Employees must only use seats that have been purchased specifically by the Department for the transportation of children. Should it be found that the department does not have enough; a requisition for more seats must be made.
2.5 The driver is responsible in law for making sure that children under 14 years use seat belts or child seat/boosters as required.
2.6 For children over 14 years it is the responsibility of the driver to make the child aware of the needs to wear a seat belt / restraint. 
2.7 Where a child refuses to wear a seat belt, then under no circumstance must that child be transported.


3. Transporting Children

3.1 Staff will be involved in the transportation of children from and to various settings e.g. school, home visits, activities, court etc.
3.2 It is the responsibility of all managers to ensure that staff update changes to their insurance and driving licence and provide copies of the documents.
3.3

Additional points should also be noted:

  • Where a Risk Assessment states that two staff should accompany a child, the child should never be left alone whilst on the activity. In this case both staff should sit with the child in the rear of the vehicle during the journey; in the event of 2 children needing to be transported, both needing two staff an additional car will need to be used unless a 6+ vehicle is available;
  • Under no circumstances must a child be allowed to gain access to vehicle keys. When not in use, vehicle keys must be kept in a safe place. Children may not use the main controls of vehicles, steer cars or use petrol pumps;
  • All vehicle occupants must wear suitable seat belts or restraints at all times when in vehicles (see Section 2, Seat Belts and Restraints);
  • Children, staff/carers and other passengers must not smoke as this is illegal not smoke in vehicles;
  • If there is any likely or known risk to the child or others, e.g. a child's history of violence, the likelihood that the child may abscond or refuse to go, the member of staff should consult his or her team manager for advice on how to proceed but, as a minimum, should ensure the following:
  • The child must sit in the rear of the vehicle, and each child must be supervised by a minimum of one member of staff (excluding the driver);
  • Staff must be clear when it may be appropriate to use Physical Intervention and what techniques may be appropriate;
  • Children must not be able to distract the driver;
  • The member of staff must be satisfied that no items which could be used as weapons are available to the child. These could include tools, aerosols, pens etc;
  • If it is suspected that the child may have some weapon concealed on their person, this must be discussed with the team manager immediately and before the journey commences;
  • A plan should be in place for arrival at the destination:
    • Will more staff be needed?
    • Is a room available?
    • Is it easy to get the car close to the destination; and
    • Is it possible to avoid other children becoming involved?
  • If the potential risks cannot be managed safely, the journey must not go ahead or continue. If necessary, the Police must be called to assist;
  • If a child becomes distressed to the extent that the safety of the vehicle or occupants may be compromised, the vehicle must be stopped in a safe and legal manner. The appropriate emergency support service should be summoned if required;
  • If the safety of the occupants is compromised, with the risk of injury or damage to property, Physical Intervention may be used. If the situation cannot be managed the Police should be called to assist;
  • Staff's insurance must be checked on an annual basis in order to be assured that it includes business use.

End