Baby On Board
An Overview of Canada’s Seatbelt & Carseat Laws
Car crashes are the number one cause of death for Canadian children!
A properly installed car seat can reduce the risk of serious injury or death by as much as 71 per cent.
Car seat clinics show that as many as 80% of car seats are installed improperly. Common errors include not tightening the seatbelt and harness enough, and not properly using a tether strap when required.
Make sure your child is safe and secure, and is buckled up right. Children under 13 years of age are safest in the back seat away from all active air bags.
By law, drivers are responsible for ensuring passengers under 16 years of age are secured properly. Failing to do so may result in a $90 fine, plus two demerit points and a victim surcharge.
Infants: Newborn babies and infants require special protection while in a vehicle. In a collision, properly installed rear-facing car seats can save your child’s life.
Infant car seats should face the back of the vehicle, rest on a 45-degree angle and move no more than 2.5 cm (1in) side to side. If necessary, use a towel or foam bar (pool noodle) under the base of the child car seat to adjust the angle. Harness straps should be slotted at or below a baby’s shoulders. You should not be able to fit more than one finger underneath the harness straps at the child’s collarbone. The chest clip should be flat against the chest at armpit level.
When your child outgrows the maximum height and weight of his/her infant seat, you may require a convertible rear-facing seat until your child is ready to be facing forward. Use a rear-facing seat until: -the baby is at least 9 kilogramss (20lbs) -the baby can pull him/herself to a standing position -the baby is one year old.
Toddlers: Your child can ride facing forward when they are about a year old, over 9 kilograms (20lbs) and can pull him/herself to a standing position.
All forward-facing car seats must use a tether strap. If your vechile does not have a tether anchor in place, contact a dealership to have one installed.
To prevent the car seat from moving forward and causing injury in a collision, it is important to use the tether strap exactly as the manufacturer recommends.
To install a forward-facing car seat, fasten the tether strap, then use your body weight to tighten and fasten the seatbelt.
Ensure that the shoulder straps are at or above the child’s shoulders. Straps should be snug, with only one finger width between the strap and the child’s collarbone. Avoid using aftermarket car seat products. They can become projectiles or may have hard or sharp surfaces that can hurt your child in a collision.
Courtesy of Ministry of Transportation