Gateway Gazette

Is Your Child Safe and Sound in the Backseat?

Child safety restraints are required by law for all children under the age of six who weigh less than 18 kilograms (40 pounds).

Depending on their age, size and walking ability, children should be restrained in rear- or forward-facing child safety seats. Children under nine years of age who weigh between 18?36 kilograms (40 – 80 pounds) are safest using a booster seat.

“The fact is that child safety seats and seatbelts save lives, reducing fatalities and serious injuries by between 45 and 65 per cent. Making sure you wear your seatbelt and your child is riding in an approved safety seat is one of the best safety decisions you can make for you and your family.”

~ Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation

Child safety seats are ineffective unless used properly. That’s why the Alberta government has developed free, online child safety seat training. It will help caregivers and professionals who work with children learn how to properly select, install and use child safety seats.

Five per cent of Albertans do not wear their seatbelts on a regular basis. This represents the equivalent of two cities the size of Red Deer not wearing their seatbelts – that is 200,000 Albertans risking their lives.

Occupant Restraint Facts

  • Children should remain in their rear-facing seat until they are at least one year of age and weigh at least 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and are walking independently.
  • Children should remain in their forward-facing seat until they reach the maximum weight and height allowed for their seat and the child is at least 18 kilograms (40 pounds) and six years of age.
  • Children who are under nine years of age, who weigh between 18 and 36 kilograms (40 – 80 pounds) or are less than 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall are safest in a booster seat when riding in a vehicle.
  • Without a booster seat, a child is three-and-a-half times more likely to suffer a significant injury.
  • Children under the age of 12 are safest in the back seat of a vehicle in proper restraints based on their age, height and weight.
  • The fine for not using a seatbelt or child safety seat is $155.
  • In Alberta, the law requires that all occupants travelling in a motor vehicle use a seatbelt or child safety seat that is properly worn and adjusted.
  • Drivers are responsible to ensure that all passengers under the age of 16 are properly secured using either a child safety seat or seatbelt. Drivers may be fined for each unrestrained passenger under the age of 16.
  • Seatbelts save about 1,000 lives per year in Canada.
  • Seatbelts distribute the force of a collision evenly to the stronger parts of a person’s body. In a crash, a vehicle travelling 50 km/h comes to an abrupt stop in 1/100th of a second.  At 50 km/h, an unrestrained person, weighing 80 kilograms (176 pounds), will strike whatever they hit first with a force of 2,785 kilograms (6,215 pounds).
  • Airbags are a supplemental protection and only function properly if the occupant is restrained in a proper position by a seatbelt. Airbags deploy at an explosive speed and can cause injury if the occupant is not properly positioned.
  • Modern vehicles are designed with an engineered life space or passenger compartment that can withstand the force of most impacts. Seatbelts keep occupants from being ejected through the windshield or thrown around the passenger compartment.
  • In a collision, unrestrained occupants increase the risk for everyone in the vehicle.  An unrestrained occupant may hit something or someone inside the vehicle; or they may be ejected from their vehicle onto the road, guardrail or into another vehicle.

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