Transporting Preschool Students

School bus regulations apply to preschool programs in Maine. Transportation of preschool is complex. Schools offering transportation to preschool-age children must understand federal, national, and state regulations and guides to determine which apply to their unique student and vehicle transportation situation.  These include:  National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) Federal Guideline for the Safe Transportation of Pre-school Age Children in School Buses; Head Start programs (45 CFR part 1310-1311); National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures; and State statue and rule.   Contact the local district superintendent and school transportation director if you have questions about transporting preschool students at your local school.

Waiver for transportation of public preschool students.  Maine statute, 20-A M.R.S. section 5401, subsection 3-A, allows the commissioner to waive the requirement for school administrative units to provide transportation for public preschool students.  Superintendents may write a letter of request to the commissioner. 


  • Guideline for the Safe Transportation of Pre-school Age Children in School Buses. Guideline for the Safe Transportation of Pre-school Age Children in School Buses. This NHTSA document clarifies guidelines to use when pre-school age children are transported in a school bus.  The document also defines a Child Safety Restraint System (CSRS), proper securement, placement and anchorage of CSRS, retrofitting school buses, and evacuation.
  • Head Start Transportation Waivers. Link to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Head Start page with information on submitting waivers to the federal requirements that children be secured in age and weight appropriate child restraint systems and that there be at least one monitor onboard any bus transporting Head Start children.
  • Laws and Rules. State law, 20-A M.R.S. section 5401, subsection 3-A, waiver for transportation of public preschool students.
  • Proper Use of Child Safety Restraint System in School Buses (CSRS). This publication is designed to assist in correctly securing pre-school age children in a CSRS and properly securing the system to a school bus seat.  The publication provides the basic rules of proper CSRS usage and illustrates the most common mistakes made when installing a CSRS. Use this brochure in conjunction with the instructions that come with the CSRS to assure each child is properly restrained each time they travel in a school bus..
  • School Bus Safety: Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers. Issued from the National Safety Council.
  • Maine Department of Education (DOE) Early Childhood Education (ECE).  Maine DOE’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) staff promote children’s learning by offering information and resources to support public preschool and Head Start teachers and administrators involved in educating Maine’s young learners.