April 13, 2014 – When Saskatchewan’s legislation for mandatory booster seats for children goes into effect at the end of June, Alberta will be the only province in Canada without legislation.
Booster seats are optional for children over the age of six in Alberta as they are in Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut.
Legislation requires that all children younger than nine years of age or weighing less than 80 lbs. must be strapped in with a booster seat.
“There are simulations that show the types of injuries are significantly different if you don’t use a booster seat.”
Transport Canada states, “As long as your child still fits within the manufacturer’s weight and height limits, he or she is safer in a booster seat.” The following information was resourced from Transport Canada .
Booster Back - If your booster seat has a back, make sure the middle of your child’s ears are lower than the top of the back of the booster seat.
Seat Belt Guide - If there is a seat belt guide, it should be at or above your child’s shoulder.
Shoulder Belt - Make sure the shoulder belt rests on your child’s shoulder - never on the neck or arm, or under the arm.
Lap Belt - The lap belt should be snug against your child’s hips, and not on their stomach.
- Always use a lap belt and a shoulder belt with a booster seat.
- Always buckle up an empty booster seat (or take it out of your vehicle) so it doesn’t bounce around in the back seat when not in use.
- Leave as much space as possible between the booster seat and the front seat of your vehicle.
- Items that did not come with your new booster seat may not be safe to use. Contact the booster seat manufacturer about the use of such items.
The following two paragraphs were excerpted from Consumers Report .
“…but any booster seat appears to be safer than none at all for children shorter than 4’9” - the height of an average 11-year-old. Most vehicle belts won’t fit a child under that height without a booster. The most recent research also shows that children between 4 and 8 years old are 45% less likely to sustain injuries when riding in booster seats vs. those using a vehicle’s safety belt alone. But using a booster seat is the safest way for any child up to 4’9” to travel, regardless of age. Injuries sustained by children using safety belts alone can be life-threatening, including abdominal bruising, internal organ damage, and lumbar-spine injuries, to name a few.”
“…the study noted that children who wore an adult seat belt cut a child's risk of injury by 38%, but using a booster seat with a belt cut the risk of injury by 78%.”
Dr. Dennis R. Durbin, Associate Trauma Director, Emergency Medicine and Attending Physician at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia; Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
“After a child reaches the height or weight limits of a harnessed seat (some accommodate kids as tall as 50” and weighing up to 90 pounds), he can start using a belt-positioning booster without a harness, which adapts a vehicle’s seatbelts - meant to accommodate an average-sized adult - to fit a child’s smaller frame. A belt-positioning booster can be the last car seat a child uses before he starts using the vehicle’s seat - when he’s around 4’9” tall and the safety belt fits him correctly - which is normally at around age 8 at the earliest, as recommended by a 2009 study in the journal Pediatrics.”
This study reconfirmed previous reports that belt positioning booster seats reduces the risk of injury in children aged 4 through 8 years of age. Based on these analyses, parents, caregivers, paediatricians and health educators should continue to recommend the use of belt positioning booster seats once a child outgrows a harness-based child restraint.
The Journal of the American Medical Association performed a study in 2003 that included more than 4,200 children who were too big for child car seats but too short for adult seat belts. Doctors reported that children suffered ‘seat belt syndrome’ -- injuries that include abdominal and spinal cord damage from being bent forward over the lap belt, as well as injuries to the face and brain from the head hitting the knees.
Dr. Dennis R. Durbin of the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and lead author of the study noted that children who wore an adult seat belt cut a child's risk of injury by 38%, but using a booster seat with a belt cut the risk of injury by 78%.
Booster seats position children in seat belts intended for adults.
Don’t compromise your children’s safety. Use a booster seat. It’s the right thing to do.
Stage 3: Booster Seats – Transport Canada
Keep Kids Safe - Stage 3: Booster Seats – Transport Canada
Child Restraint and Booster Seats & Consumer Information Notices – Transport Canada
High Back Boosters are the Safest Type – Consumers Report November 2013
Belt-positioning booster seat ratings – Consumers Report
Toddler booster seat report – Consumers Report