Children's Health & Safety Association

Issue 43: July 2018

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 18:04

Alberta: Not on Board with Booster Seat Legislation

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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.

Don Voaklander , Director of the Centre for Injury Control and Research in Alberta states that young children are at greater risk because seatbelts do not fit them properly – and the RCMP agrees.

“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 .

alberta-003Booster 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.

Safety tips:

  • 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. 

alberta-004The 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.

alberta-007Dr. 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

Read 18620 times Last modified on Friday, 18 July 2014 15:41


  • Comment Link Dan Chabert Friday, 21 April 2017 06:30 posted by Dan Chabert

    Good writing. Great tips. Thanks!

  • Comment Link Dan C. Friday, 21 April 2017 06:26 posted by Dan C.

    Getting the right booster seat is a must. It's also quite the pain, unless you do the proper research beforehand. Thanks for writing this article.

  • Comment Link Garland Saturday, 19 March 2016 21:18 posted by Garland

    I happened to stumble upon your website and found the health and safety information very helpful and eye opening. Good job.

  • Comment Link experienced Saturday, 27 December 2014 04:10 posted by experienced

    Very decent website.

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    Thanks for the sensible write up. Me and my neighbor were preparing to do some research on the subject of car seats and booster seats. We went to our local library but I think we learned more information from this post. I am very glad to see such wonderful information being shared freely out there.

  • Comment Link Eulah Saturday, 29 November 2014 01:52 posted by Eulah

    Great site you have here. Kudos!

  • Comment Link about this Thursday, 29 May 2014 23:29 posted by about this

    I'm glad that you shared this helpful information on car and booster seat safety with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

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