CAR SEAT SAFETY
A recent roadside study found that 99% of kids were buckled, but…
73% of car seats were used or installed incorrectly
30% of kids in booster seats did not meet the 40 pound weight minimum
52% of kids in seat belts did not fit safely and still should have been in a booster seat
At Li'l Squirts we want to help you keep your most precious cargo safe - your kids.
With that said, there are a few common errors that can decrease the protection of your child including:
Not securing the car seat properly - it moves more than 1" side to side or front to back from the beltpath
Seatbelt not locked or the Universal Anchorage System (UAS) is not properly fastened or is being used past the weight limit
Not using a top tether on a forward facing car seat
Not using a car seat or booster within the manufacturers weight, height and fit requirements.
Not having the harness or seat belt in the correct position on the child
ONTARIO LAWS AND REGULATIONS FOR REAR AND FORWARD FACING CAR SEATS
Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act and the car seat regulations of Ontario state that children must use a rear-facing car seat until the individual weighs at least 20 lbs; however, this is only the minimum requirement. Many manufacturers make rear-facing car seats for children up to 50 lbs. It is best to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible as long as they are still within the limits of their seat. As CPST's we recommended at minimum to age 2 but for best practice closer to age 3 or 4.
We often get asked "but what about their legs!?"
*Leg injuries to children who ride rear facing are almost non-existent and are actually more common in forward facing children. And, although it may look incredibly uncomfortable sitting with your legs crossed or propped up in the air for an extended period of time, kiddos just really don’t care because their joints are far more flexible than ours are as adults.
Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act requires the minimum requirement for children to use a forward-facing child car seat when they weigh between 9kg to 18kg (20lb-40lbs). With new technology and research continuing to evolve, some forward-facing car seats are now made for children who weigh up to 30kg (65lbs).
For best practice we recommend keeping your child in a forward facing car seat until they reach the maximum height, weight or fit requirements on their seat.
Please note, that it is important to use the top tether on a forward facing car seat. To find out how to properly route it, read your car seat and vehicle manuals.
Learn more about when to make the switch here.
ONTARIO BOOSTER SEAT LAWS & REGULATIONS
Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act requires children to use a booster seat in between the weights of 18kg to 36kg (40lb-80lb), when standing less than 145cm (4’9”) and under the age of 8 years old; however, this is only the minimum requirement.
Seat belts are designed for an adult's body size, not a child’s. A booster seat is a device that is designed to properly position the seat belt in the correct locations over the child’s body. A proper fit on a booster seat will allow the shoulder belt to be centred across the child's collarbone and the lap portion of the seat belt needs to be low on the child's hips touching the tops of their thighs.
Ontario's Highway Traffic Act allows a child to graduate from a car seat and use a seat belt alone when one of the following conditions are met:
Child turns 8 years old OR
Child weighs 86kg or 80lb OR
Child is 145cm (4’9”) tall or more
As CPST's we only recommended making the transition from a booster to a seatbelt when they can pass the "5-Step Test" 👇
When car seats are installed correctly, they can reduce the risk of children being seriously injured in motor vehicle collisions. A car seat is the only item that you will purchase for your child that has the sole purpose of saving their life. It is so important to ensure that car seats are installed and used correctly. Children 12 and under are safest in the back seat of the vehicle, away from any potential impact of the front airbags.
For drivers, it is important to stay up to date on car seat laws and the way that these laws work.
It's important to always stay up to date on provincial car seat regulations and best practice recommendations.
Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death in Canadian children.
A properly used seat can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71%
If you are driving with a child in your car and they are not in a proper seat for their age or height and weight, you can be fined up to $1000
When purchasing your car seat, look for the label with the national safety mark on it. This means that the seat and manufacturer meet the government guidelines for safety. While you do not need to register the individual seat with a governing body, you should make sure that you register with the manufacturer so that you are notified of any recalls.