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Transporting children in early childhood services

Requirements for providers, nominated supervisors and educators.

Transporting children in buses or any other type of vehicle can create risks to children’s safety, health and wellbeing. This applies whether it is a single trip or regular transportation.

The information on this page relates to transportation that is part of the service on:

  • single trips
  • regular transportation.

It does not cover transportation that is part of an excursion or regular outing.

Transportation as part of the service

Transportation is part of the service when:

  • the service provides or arranges the transportation
  • the service accepts legal responsibility for the children’s care and wellbeing while they are being transported.

Transportation is not part of the service when:

  • families provide private transportation for children. This includes transportation by carers not employed by the service.
  • transport is not provided or arranged by the service. For example a school bus where children are not under the care of the service (refer to the School buses in rural and regional Victoria section on this page).

Transportation requirements

Approved providers must make sure their service complies with the following legal requirements under the National Law and National Regulations.

This information applies to all care types:

  • long day care
  • family day care (FDC)
  • kindergartens
  • outside school hours care (OSHC).

Your service must:

  1. have a policy and procedures for transportation that includes procedures that cover how the service will manage:

    • risk assessments for transporting children
    • written authorisations from parents/guardians.
  2. complete a risk assessment. Refer to the Risk assessments section on this page for more detail:

    • to identify risks and
    • specify how the risks will be managed and minimised.
  3. get written authorisation from parents or persons authorised by the parent to transport children.

  4. maintain adequate supervisionExternal Link during transportation and meet:

    • the relevant educator to child ratios and
    • qualification requirements.
  5. have staff members or nominated supervisors present who have the following qualifications:

    • at least one staff member or nominated supervisor who holds a current approved first aid qualification.
    • at least one staff member or nominated supervisor who has undertaken current approved anaphylaxis management training.
    • at least one staff member or nominated supervisor who has undertaken approved emergency asthma management training.
  6. take every reasonable precaution to protect children from harm and any hazard.

  7. follow Victorian road safety rules about child restraints and seat beltsExternal Link .

Risk assessments

All services must complete a risk assessment before they transport children. It is a key way to plan, and put processes in place that can minimise risks.

In the case of regular transportation, a risk assessment can be conducted every 12 months, but a new risk assessment must be conducted if the circumstances change (refer to the Regular transportation sections on this page).

Risk assessments must consider the following issues:

  • the proposed route and duration of the transportation
  • the proposed pick-up location and destination
  • the means of transport
  • any requirements for seatbelts or safety restraintsExternal Link under Victorian road safety rules
  • any water hazards
  • the number of adults and children involved in the transportation
  • given the risks identified, you should consider:
    • how many educators or other responsible adults are needed to adequately supervise children at all times
    • if you need any adults with specialised skills present
    • if you need to bring any specific items with you in the vehicle (e.g. mobile phone, list of emergency contacts for the children being transported)
    • the process you will use to manage children:
      • getting on or off the vehicle(s) to make sure that each child is accounted for
      • when entering and exiting the service premises
      • at the pick-up location or
      • at any other destination(s).

Read the updated Safe Transportation of Children information sheetExternal Link .

Risk assessment templates

Access all ACECQA’s templates from the resources tab at: Children’s health and safetyExternal Link .

  • For one off transportation: ‘Risk assessment and management template – Transporting children'. This does not include excursions.
  • For excursions that include transportation: ‘Risk assessment and management template – Excursions’.
  • For centre-based services offering regular transportation use: ‘Safe Transportation of Children Safety Checklist and Transport record form’.
  • For FDC services offering regular transport use: ‘Risk assessment and management template – Transporting children’.

Make sure you tailor the template for your own service.

Regular transportation – centre-based services only

From 1 March 2023, approved providers and nominated supervisors of centre-based services that provide or arrange regular transportation must make sure that:

  1. A staff member or nominated supervisor is present at the service when children get on or off a vehicle at the service.

    • This person must be an extra person, it cannot be the driver of the vehicle.
  2. Each child getting on or off a vehicle at the service is checked off an attendance list.

  3. The staff member or nominated supervisor then checks the vehicle after the children get off, to make sure that no children are left on the vehicle.

  4. The service must immediately make a record that:

  5. The service notifies the department via the NQAITS online portalExternal Link within 7 days:

    • when they start providing or arranging regular transport
    • when they stop/finish providing or arranging regular transport.

Read more about changes to regular transportation of children commencing 1 March 2023External Link .

Regular transportation – Family Day Care

Some FDC services provide regular transportation to children as part of the service, for example:

  • a FDC service transports children from the home to the family day care service premises or other location. This may also include school aged children.
  • an OSHC service collects children from one or more schools and delivers them to the service premises.
  • an early learning centre linked to an independent school may offer a service that picks up children from home and delivers them to the service premises.

Where the circumstances are 'substantially the same' each time, for example:

  • the same means of transport
  • the same location
  • the same transportation route
  • the same transportation provider (eg. an external provider rather than the service’s minibus for example)
  • the risks are the same.

Then services only need to:

  • complete risk assessment that includes transport (refer to the Risk Assessment section on this page); and
  • get written authorisation from parents/guardians once in a 12 month period.

If any of the circumstances listed changes, services must complete a new risk assessment and new written authorisation from parents/guardians based on the new circumstances.

Read about the authorisations you must have for regular transportation.

School buses in rural and regional Victoria

The School Bus ProgramExternal Link operates in rural and regional Victoria. It helps families to transport their children to and from a 4 year old kindergarten service. Children must be 4 years old to use this service.

The School Bus Program is not provided as part of the education and care service.

Even though this transport is not part of the service, all services must:

  • make sure the delivery and collection of children policy and procedures includes the following information:
    • the roles and responsibilities of parents, the service and educators when children use the School Bus Program
    • communication protocols between the parents and the service:
      • where a child does not arrive at the service or at home at the expected time or
      • where a child expected to be transported but is not travelling on a particular day
    • arrangements for children being transported for the first time.

Reviewed 16 April 2023


Contact us

Quality Assessment and Regulation Division (QARD)

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