• Tokyo

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Almost every kindergarten with its own buses puts a lot of effort into decorating them, but not too much into safety. My 5-year-old twins are attending a Japanese kindergarten and have to take a bus that has no seat belts. In response to our requests that seat belts be installed on the bus, the kindergarten said that the idea had been discussed but rejected because: 1) seat belts are not required by law; 2) children aged 3 to 5 won’t be able to open the seat belt if a fire breaks out on the bus; and 3) the bus driver always drives very carefully.

These arguments are nonsense. As parents who drive know, small children can open seat belts by themselves. And even if the bus driver is very careful, the bus could still be hit by another vehicle. On April 13, a kindergarten bus smashed into a car parked in front of a house in Tokyo and some children were injured. I really do hope that people start to think about the matter once again and conclude that it is much safer for kids to wear seat belts on kindergarten buses!

sabine stummer

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