Automobile accidents are the number-one cause of death for Canadian children, with approximately 10,000 injured or killed in vehicular crashes each year, according to Transport Canada.
In an effort to keep children safer on the road—and in recognition that today kids are bigger and heavier—the Government of Canada put new regulations for child safety seats into effect January 1, 2012. The regulations for the manufacture of new safety seats now specify:
- Increasing the maximum weight limit from 22 kg to 30 kg
- Adding new testing requirements for the seats
- Bumping up the definition of an infant’s weight from 9 kg to 10 kg
The regulations apply to newly manufactured seats and do not require parents to replace existing safety seats. However, if your child’s seat was in a car that was involved in a collision or if it’s past its expiry date, it should be replaced with a seat that meets the new requirements.
Here’s what parents can do to help keep their kids safe in the car:
- Match the seat to your child
- Make sure the safety restraint is the correct size for your child. There are four stages of car seat safety, and the weight and height limits for each vary depending on the manufacturer. The general stages include:
- Rear-facing seats for infants
- Front-facing seats for toddlers
- Booster seats for young children
- Appropriately-fitted seat belts for older children
Safe Kids Canada provides specific guidelines for these safety seat stages.
Even in a properly sized seat, children can be injured if they’re buckled in incorrectly. For rear- and front-facing seats, keep the shoulder-strap clip level with your child’s armpits and the straps snug enough so that only one finger can fit between the strap and your child. For booster and vehicle seats, the lap belt should sit across your child’s hips, and the shoulder strap should rest on the shoulder—not on the neck.
Get the most from your seat
If your child hasn’t exceeded the height or weight limits for a particular seat, use it as long as possible before moving on to the next stage. But remember to inspect the seat periodically; even if it hasn’t reached its expiry date, it can wear down from regular use. Check to see that the buckle fastens smoothly, the plastic hasn’t cracked or weakened and the fabric or vinyl cushioning is intact.
Learn more about safety seat safety and the new safety regulations from Transport Canada.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under any policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.
For more information about Ottawa insurance please contact:
Steve Marchese, State Farm Agent
2430 Bank St., Suite 210
Ottawa, ON K1V 0T7