Remember Allyceea

Dear sir:
Allyceea Ennis died on her school bus in Thunder Bay two days before Valentine’s Day. Since then, her family has been asking the question, “Why?”
The more research we do, the more we discover that small children—left unsupervised and unrestrained—are not safe on school buses.
Transport Canada and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) both have endorsed “compartmentalization,” rather than seat belts, as the best way to protect school bus passengers.
Compartmentalization is provided by closely-spaced, well-anchored, padded, energy-absorbing seats. These safety requirements were developed based on school bus passengers ranging in size from a six-year-old child to an adult male.
However, NHTSA cautions that smaller children fall under a completely different dynamic because they are more likely to be thrown out of a school bus seat and onto the floor, instead of into the padded seat in front, in the event of a crash or even in the event of a sudden stop, swerve, or sharp turn.
In 1997, NHTSA conducted crash tests in the United States to address this issue. They now recommend that all children under 50 pounds be secured on their school buses in child safety restraints (car seats).
New federal regulations in the U.S. took effect this year and require all “Head Start” program children under 50 pounds to be in approved and properly-installed child safety restraints when riding on school buses.
These regulations also mandate that there must be at least one adult school bus safety monitor on board, with additional monitors provided as necessary.
Transport Canada has conducted these same crash tests, but for reasons unknown, their findings have not been published. They do caution that smaller and younger children are safest in child restraint systems (contact the Minister of Transport, Tony Valeri, at Valeri.T@parl.gc.ca for crash test results).
It should be noted that Allyceea was only four years old and weighed less than 40 pounds when her body was found between the seats on the floor of her school bus.
We know that she was alive when she fell or left her seat because she cried—but no adult heard her. An adult bus monitor could have assisted her while she was still conscious.
If Allyceea had been secured in an appropriate child safety restraint, she would not have been on the floor in the first place. Changes must be made.
Please Remember Allyceea and strongly request appropriate child safety restraints on all school buses for children under 50 pounds, adult bus monitors, and first aid/CPR training for all bus drivers.
For more information on school bus safety, visit www.rememberallyceea.com
(Signed),
Sandra (Ennis) Nunn
RR 1, Kakabeka Falls, Ont.