Car Seat Safety
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The proper use of car seats and boosters is required by law.
This is a general guide only. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and vehicle owner’s manual.
- Infants and children have large heads in proportion to the rest of their body
- The muscles in their neck are not well developed
- In a head-on collision, a child’s head can jerk forward suddenly and violently, causing neck and spinal injuries
- Due to a child’s smaller size, an adult seat belt cannot be positioned on the parts of a child’s body that are strongest to withstand the force of a crash
- A child’s body can easily slip through an adult seat belt system
- Use height and weight to determine if your child is ready to move to the next stage of car seat
- Keep car keys out of reach and sight of children
- Never leave your child alone in a car under any circumstances, even sleeping infants
- If your child gets locked inside a car – call 911
- Protect your child with a proper car seat that is correctly installed
- Check the temperature of your child’s car seat surface and safety belt buckles before placing your child in the car seat
- Car seats should be thrown out if they:
- Have passed their expiry date
- Have been in a crash (even minor)
- Have cracks, chips, frayed harness or missing parts
- If you throw out a car seat, be sure to cut off the harness straps so that nobody can use the seat
- Only use car seats in cars and strollers designed to hold car seats. Any other use of a car seat can change the child’s position and increase the risk of tipping, strangulation, or death from pressure on the child’s neck
- Place car seats on the floor only. Placing it on a higher level increases the risk of it falling even from a child making small movements
- In colder temperatures, it is safest to use a blanket over your baby’s legs and torso. Extra padding between your baby and the seat, or your baby and the harness straps reduces the safety of the seat e.g. snow suit
- Avoid seat belt adjusters as they may not be safety regulated
- Make family safety rules with your children
- Help them understand why rules are important and always need to be followed
- Tell your children you are proud of them when they use sidewalks and cross the street safely
- Be a role model. Follow Ontario’s Child Passenger Seat Requirements because children learn by watching you
Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act
The law in Ontario requires anyone transporting children to correctly secure them in an appropriate infant, child or booster seat. This applies to all caregivers, including babysitters and grandparents.
This law states that a child can start using an adult seat belt once they meet any one of the following:
- Child turns eight years old
- Child weighs 36kg (80lbs)
- Child is 145 cm (4 feet, 9 inches) tall
- More car seat tips and information is available at Parachute Canada
- Attend a car seat clinic. Check the Child Safety Seat Coalition website for the latest information on car seat clinics located throughout Ontario.
Suggested Safety Rule
- Teach children not to play in, or around a vehicle
- Always wear a seat belt when your ride in a vehicle