Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
The correct use of a child restraint on
every trip can prevent 75 per cent of crash-related deaths and serious injuries
to child passengers. However, roadside checks find only half to two-thirds of
children buckled up at all. During 1999, Buckle Up Bears clinics found that only
12 per cent of all car seats checked were correctly
These tips from the Canada
Safety Council will help you make sure your child is properly protected in the
- Rear-Facing Infant Seat: Birth to 10 kg (22 lb.)
- Forward-Facing Child Seat: 10 - 18 kg (22 - 40
- Booster Seat: 18 kg (40 lb.) or over
- Seat-Belt: 27 kg (60 lb.) or over
- Make sure the restraint system has CMVSS
(Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) on the label and comes with full
- Check the weight and height limits of the seat to
be sure that it is correct for your child.
- Before you buy a seat, try it in your vehicle to
be sure that it can be installed properly and can be tightened so there is
- Always follow the instructions according to the
child seat manufacturer's manual and the vehicle owner's manual.
- Transport Canada recommends that children 12 and
under should be properly restrained in the back seat especially if there is a
passenger-side air bag.
Birth to 10 kg (22
- An infant-only seat offers the best fit for young
babies. When your child is over the height OR weight limit of the infant-only
seat, you can use an infant/child seat in the rear-facing position.
- Make sure the harness is snug, (only one finger
should fit between the harness and the baby's collar bone). The chest clip
should be positioned at armpit level.
- When tightening the vehicle seat belt, push the
infant seat down and into the upholstery, and pull the belt as tight as
possible. There should be very little movement.
WARNING: Never place
a rear-facing child restraint in a seat equipped with an air
10 - 18 kg (22 - 40
- When your child weighs 10 kg and can pull to a
stand independently use a forward-facing seat. Before this, the neck and back
muscles and bone structure are not strong enough to withstand crash forces.
- Make sure the harness is snug, so that only one
finger can fit between the harness and the child's collar bones. The chest clip
should be positioned at armpit level.
- When tightening the vehicle seat belt, kneel in
the child restraint to push it down and into the upholstery, and pull the belt
as tight as possible. There should be very little movement.
- All forward-facing child seats must be anchored
to the vehicle frame with a tether strap. Check your vehicle owner's manual or
your dealership for tether anchor locations.
18 kg (40 lb.) or
- The child must weigh 18 kg before moving to a
booster seat. If the mid-point of your child's ears is over the back of the
child restraint but he/she is not yet 18 kg, use a combination child
- A booster seat raises the child to fit the adult
- A booster that uses a lap/shoulder belt provides
the best protection for your child.
- Use a booster until your child is over the
manufacturer's upper weight limit or height limit, or the mid-point of the ears
is above the top of the high back booster or the vehicle seat.
kg (60 lb.) or over
- When your child has outgrown the booster seat,
start using the lap/shoulder belt on its own.
- The key to using a seat-belt safely is
positioning. The lap belt should be worn low on the hips, touching the upper
thighs, to prevent abdominal injuries or spinal damage. The shoulder belt should
be worn over the shoulder and across the chest.
- The child should sit fully upright, with back
against the vehicle seat. To prevent slouching, the legs should be long enough
to bend over the front of the vehicle seat. This will prevent the lap belt from
riding up over the abdomen. To fit most shoulder belts, the child should have a
sitting height of at least 63 cm (25 in.)