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Feature Article - August 18, 2005

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Feature Article

August 18, 2005

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New booster seat law

by Karen Skuce

A new law goes into effect September 1, making it mandatory for anyone transporting children to make sure children are properly secured in either an infant seat, child seat, or booster seat. This would apply to all caregivers, from babysitters to grandparents. Transportation Minister Harindar Takhar madethe followingstatement in a government press release. "We know child car seats and booster seats save lives. In fact they can reduce the risk of death or injury by as much as 75 per cent," said Takhar. "That's why having kids properly secured is no longer an option. It's the law."


Rear-facing infant car seats are required for infants weighing 9kg (20 lbs) or less. Forward-facing child car seats are required for children weighing between 9kg and 18 kg (20 to 40 lbs), children about one year of age.)

Booster seats are required for children under the age of eight, weighing more than 18 kg but less than 36 kg (40-80 lbs) and who stand less than 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall.

A child can start using a seatbelt alone once any one of the following criteria is met:

- child turns eight years old

- child weighs 36 kg (80 lbs)

- child is 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall.

When a child can sit against the vehicle's back seat, with legs bent comfortably over the edge of the seat and the shoulder belt flat across their shoulder and chest, the child is ready to be fully protected by an adult seatbelt. Children under 13 years of age are safest in the rear seat of a vehicle, away from active airbags. Drivers are responsible for ensuring passengers under 16 years of age are properly secured.

Drivers who fail to use booster or child car seats, or who use them incorrectly, face two demerit points plus a $110 fine. Quebec is the only other Canadian jurisdiction with a booster seat law.

Taxis, public vehicles, buses, emergency vehicles, vehicles on short-term lease, and those from other jurisdictions will be exempt from the new child car seat regulations.

As well, the government will no longer collect the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) on booster seats, effective September 1, 2005. Child and infant seats are already PST-exempt.

More detailed information regarding Bill 73 is available at the Ministry of Transportation website. Also, Terry Carson, M.Ed. offerssome good tipson how to help your kids make the adjustment to booster seats at The Parenting Coach website.

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to get more information about how to properly install child car seats or booster seats by attending a child car seat inspection clinic in their area. Jan MacPherson at The Child Centre is our local expert regarding child car seat safety and can be contacted at 279-2260.

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