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The City of Portland, Oregon

Fire & Rescue

Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Motor Vehicle Safety

Motor Vehicle Safety
503-656-7207 (Portland Number)
1-800-772-1315 (Toll Free)

Safety Messages
1 .      Always ride buckled up in the back seat in a child safety or booster seat.

Child safety seats are extremely effective when installed and used correctly.  A child between 40 and 60 pounds (usually between the ages of 4 and 8) should use a booster seat, following the manufacturer’s instructions.  (New booster seats are being manufactured to accommodate children up to 80 pounds.)  Usually, a child weighing more than 80 pounds is big enough to wear a lap-shoulder belt.  The shoulder strap needs to fit snugly.  Never place a shoulder strap under a child’s arm or behind the back.  If the strap crosses the child’s face or throat, use a booster seat in addition to the safety belt.
Although more than 1,700 lives have been saved by air bags since the mid-1980s, passenger-side air bags have caused serious injuries and/or death to young children.  For this reason, children ages 12 and under should ride in the back seat of the vehicle.  Follow manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation of child restraint systems.  Caregivers not familiar with how to install a child restraint system should contact the local SAFE KIDS Coalition, transportation department, American Automobile Association, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Auto Safety Hotline at (888) DASH-2-DOT.  Family members should act as positive role models and use safety belts at all times.

2.      Learn and practice school bus safety rules.
  • While waiting for the bus, stand back 10 feet, or 5 giant steps, from the curb until the bus has completely stopped.
  • When the bus has stopped and the driver opens the door, line up in single file.  Do not push or shove anyone in line.  Get on the bus quickly and find a seat.
  • Keep the aisle of the bus clear of feet, backpacks, books, and lunch boxes so that other children will not trip and fall.
  • Stay in your seat at all times.  Bus seats are designed to protect you from getting hurt if the bus stops suddenly.  In addition, standing or changing seats may distract the driver.
  • Talk quietly.  Loud noises and fighting can distract the driver.
  • Keep head, arms, and hands inside the bus.  Never throw anything out of the bus window.  It could hit a person or car.
  • It is unsafe to throw things inside the bus.
  • Hold onto the bus handrails to prevent falling down when exiting the bus.  Be careful that clothing, book bags, and key rings don’t get caught on the handrails or doors.
  • After getting off a bus, take 5 giant steps away from the bus, and stay on the sidewalk.  If there is no sidewalk, stay on the shoulder of the road.  Never walk next to or behind the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver.  Never try to pick it up, because the bus driver may not be able to see you.
  • Hold hands with a grown-up when you cross the road in front of the bus.  Walk 5 giant steps beyond the front of the bus so the driver can see you.  Look left for approaching vehicles, look right, and then look left again.  Keep looking while crossing.  Make eye contact with the bus driver and the other drivers on the road to make sure they see you.
  • Always listen to the bus driver.  He or she has rules to keep you safe.

Know the Facts 
Motor vehicle crashes are by far the leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for children ages 14 and under.  Severe and serious nonfatal injuries, primarily brain and spinal cord injuries and facial disfigurement have devastating effects on the child, the family, the community and society as a whole.  Source: National SAFE KIDS Campaign

According to a 1994 Angus Reid survey, 97% of parents believe they are using child car seats and safety belts correctly.  However, Transport Canada's 1992 statistics reveal that four out of 10 Canadian children are either not buckled in their car seats or safety belts while the car is in transit, or the restraints are the wrong size or improperly installed.  Source: SAFE KIDS Canada

Almost all children today ride a schools bus at one time or another.  It is important that all children learn about safe school bus behaviors.  The majority of school bus casualties are caused by human error.  Source: American Automobile Association