Motor vehicle collisions remain the leading cause of death in Canadian children over the age of one. From 2009-2012, 937 children between the ages of 0-12 were injured and 9 were killed in car crashes in Saskatchewan. The proper installation and use of child restraints, including booster seats, can prevent many of these injuries and deaths from occurring. Unfortunately, not all car seats are installed correctly.
Effective June 27, 2014, booster seats will be required by law for children under 7 years of age, under 145cm (4 feet 9 inches), and under 36 kg ( 80 lbs). Booster seats raise a child up so that the seat belt goes over the stronger parts of the body - hips, chest, and collarbone.
Children who have outgrown their forward-facing child seats with internal harnesses should use a properly fitted booster seat. A child must be at least 40 lbs to use a booster seat.
Many children are taken out of booster seats far too early, putting them at greater risk of injury or death in the event of a collision. Unfortunately, only about 30% of children who should be in a booster seat are in a booster seat. In order to work properly, a seatbelt needs to fit correctly to reduce the chance of injury or death in a crash. If you answer ‘No’ to any of the following questions, the seatbelt doesn’t fit your child correctly and your child should be in a booster seat:
• Can your child sit comfortably with his or her back against the vehicle’s seat back?
• Do your child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle’s seat?
• Is the lap portion of the seatbelt as low as possible, touching the child’s thighs? (lap belt should be snug over hips)
• Does the shoulder portion of the seatbelt cross the middle of the shoulder? (shoulder belt should be snug across the middle of the shoulder and chest)
• Can your child stay comfortably seated like this for the whole trip?
Throughout the province, trained technicians provide education to parents and caregivers on how to use their child restraints properly. There will be many car seat clinics and information sessions occurring during Child Passenger Safety Week. For more information any time of the year, contact the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute at 306-651-4300 or visit our website, www.skprevention.ca. To find a technician in your area, go to http://www.sgi.sk.ca/online_services/locators/carseattech/.