A Saskatchewan RCMP officer says seatbelts, had they been available, might have reduced the injuries to four children on a school bus that crashed near Melville late last week.

On Friday afternoon, a southbound tanker truck collided with the bus as it tried to cross Highway 47 about 15 kilometres south of the city, a community of 4,100 about 150 kilometres northeast of Regina.

The 52-year-old woman driving bus was killed in the accident.

Wearing seatbelts was not an option for the children because they aren't installed on the passenger seats of school buses. 

"Personally I think seatbelts would have made a difference," said Staff Sgt. Ewen Booth, who's in charge of the Melville RCMP detachment.

"The school bus did roll over, and throughout our childhood we're been taught and we're teaching people, 'Have baby seats, have booster seats.'" 

However, the school board's association says Transport Canada's research shows buses are designed to reduce injury for students in case of a crash, and seatbelts may actually cause more harm than good.

"The school board association's position is that buses have an excellent safety record and that buses are designed to minimize the risk to students in the event of an accident," said Janet Foord, association vice-president.

Two of the injured children have left the hospital. Officials expect all the children to recover.