Auto

Drive safely with infants and small children

carseat

A properly installed car seat can reduce the risk of serious injury or death by as much as 71%. Car seat clinics indicate 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. It is mandatory for anyone transporting children to make sure they are properly secured in a child car seat or booster seat. This applies to all caregivers, from babysitters to grandparents. 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 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 (1 in.) side-to-side or forward at the base. If necessary, use a towel or a 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 the 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 face forward. The law requires you to use a rear-facing car seat until the infant is at least 9 kilograms (20 lb.) Note that the law states the minimum requirement. It's best to keep children in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least one year old or until they have reached the maximum height or weight limits of the rear-facing seat.

Learn more at the Ministry of Transportation website

See also