It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Kids get left on the school bus.

The Raytown School district is installing Child Check-Mate systems in its school buses to ensure children aren’t left on the bus after the route is completed. State director of Pupil Transporation Roger Dorson says the state is not mandating installation.

Dorson says bus drivers go through training each year, and all safety precautions and practices are reviewed.

The Child Check Mate alarm sets when a bus driver starts the bus. At the end of the route, an alarm sounds, prompting the driver to walk to the back of the bus to turn it off. Raytown joins other large districts in implementing the system, including Houston, Nashville, Broward County-Florida, and Omaha.

The alarms cost about one hundred dollars each.

The company that makes the alarms says in Missouri, the devices are in use by Tyke Town in Lake St. Louis, Lebanon Archery School, and all First Student buses, of which there are 3,000 to 4,000 throughout the state.

“First Student has equipped all their buses with our Theft Mate System, which is our latest release,” says Allan Lowe, VP of engineering for Child Check-Mate Systems Inc. “It has the same basic functionality of the EP1, which the Raytown School District is equipping their buses with, but it has a secondary and third function. Once the driver leaves the bus, Theft Mate becomes active and for the next 30 minutes a motion sensor is looking for movement inside the bus.”

He says if a driver misses a sleeping child, the child awakes and will start to move about the bus, setting off a motion sensor.

“Our research has shown us, once the bus stops, the child will awake within 30 minutes,” he says. “When the motion sensor picks up on the movement, the Theftmate will then sound the horn to alert the driver or passers by that there is a child inside the bus. There is also a speaker located inside the bus that will instruct the child to sit down and that help is on its way. The third function is our Anti Intruder alert, it becomes active after 30 minutes.”

Jessica Machetta reports [Listen, Mp3, 1:23 min.]