1. Motor vehicle collisions are the number one cause of death by preventable injury for Canadian children between the ages of one and nine (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2008).
2. Misuse rates range from 44% to 81% for car seats, and 30% to 50% for booster seats (Canadian Paediatric Society, 2008).
3. According to the Canadian Paediatric Society (2008), when used correctly, child seats reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% and risk of serious injury by 67%. Using a booster seat instead of just a seat belt alone iis a reduction of 59% in injury risk.
Parents and caregivers can choose the right car seat or booster seat for their child and make sure it is used properly for every single ride.
1. Choose the right seat for your child's height, weight, and developmental stage.
2. Car seats have any expiry date. If not listed on the seat itself, you can call the manufacturer directly to get the expiry date for your model. Do not use a seat that has been in a crash or seat for which you do not know the history.
3. Make sure the seat is installed securely. You can test this by grabbing the base of the seat where you have secured it at the belt path and give it a firm shake. You do not want to be able to move the seat more than an inch from front to back and side to side.
4. Make sure your child is harnessed in correctly. The harness should lie flat with the chest clip at armpit level. To check whether the harness is secure, do the "pinch test": pinch the harness strap at the shoulder; the straps are tight enough when you can no longer grab any excess webbing.
5. Do not rush to move your child to the next stage of car seat. As long as they meet the requirements of that seat and stage, you can leave them in the position that the seat allows. For example, just because they have reached the minimum requirements to move into a booster seat, you should leave them harnessed until they have reached the maxium height/weight for the harnessed seat.
6. Keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible. It's the safest position for your child, as it protects their weak head and neck. Most children can stay rear-facing until at least the age of two.
7. Children 12 and under should stay in the back seat.
8. Don't rush to move your child out of a booster seat to a seat belt. The booster seat works to position the adult seat belt over the strong bones of your child's body. Children should not move into a seatbelt until they are at least 4'9 (145 cm). Check your provincial laws for any applicable booster seat laws and restrictions in your province.
You can do the following five-point test to see if you child is ready for a seat belt:
Click here to see watch the series of car seat installation videos.
Download information on the various stages of car seat, adapted from Child Safety Link:
1. Infant Seats
2. Rear-facing Seats
3. Forward-facing Seats
4. Booster Seats
5. Child Seat Belts
See also these additional resources from Child Safety Link:
|Britax Child Safety, Inc.||1-888-427-4829|
|Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc. (includes Cosco, Safety1st, Eddie Bauer)||1-800-387-2229|
|Evenflo Company, Inc.||1-937-773-3971|
|Graco Canada (distributed by Elfe Juvenile in Canada)||1-800-667-8184|
|Magna Aftermarket, Inc. (maker of clek brand)||1-866-656-2462|
|BMW Canada (includes Land Rover)||1-800-567-2691|
|Daimler Chrysler Canada (includes Jeep, Dodge)||1-800-465-2001|
|Ford Motor Company of Canada (includes Lincoln)||1-800-565-3673|
|General Motors Canada (includes Chevrolet, Saab, Saturn, Pontiac, Cadillac, Buick, Hummer)||1-800-463-7483|
|Honda Canada (includes Acura)||1-888-922-8729|
|Mitsibishi Motors Canada||1-888-576-4878|
Please see Transport Canada for car seat recalls.