Child Safety in the Car

It used to be that kids could sit wherever they wanted in the car: on Mom’s lap, between Mom and Dad in the front, or even standing up in the back, and all without a seat belt, of course!

Things have changed since then. A law that came into force on January 1, 1990, made booster seats mandatory for children under the age of five who are too small to wear a seat belt properly. In 2002, Section 397 of the Highway Safety Code improved this law by making child safety seats mandatory for children shorter than 63 cm when seated (measured from the seat to the top of the child’s head).

Which seat to choose?

The most important elements to consider when purchasing a child safety seat are the child’s weight and height. Child safety seats sold in Canadian stores must comply with Transport Canada standards. The Ministry performs frequent tests, and it’s their job to issue a public recall notice as soon as a problem is detected. If necessary, retailers are advised and the seat is removed from stores. The media then broadcast the news to inform as many consumers as possible.

Did you know?

Every year nearly 1,150 children aged nine or younger are injured or killed while riding in vehicles in Quebec. Using a child safety seat can reduce the risk of serious injury or death by 70%.

If you need to take a taxi and booster seats are not available, children must wear a seat belt if they are able to maintain an upright position without assistance. If not, place the child on your lap and hold him or her against your body, but do not buckle the child in with you.

Breaking the booster seat law puts children’s safety and lives at risk. Every offence is liable to a fine from $115 to $154, plus three demerit points on your driving record.

All child safety seats have an expiry date that should not be ignored. If you want to purchase a used seat, make sure it’s not missing any parts, that it’s in good condition, and that the expiry date has not passed. You should also check to make sure Transport Canada has not issued a recall on the model in question.