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Is Your Child Safe in the Backseat?
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The proper installation of a car seat can save a child’s life. We have heard it the news, from the police, and even through crash tests: numerous of lives can be lost by improper installation, and even worse, by not using a car seat. Using a car seat can decrease the risk of death or injury by up to 90%. These tips and facts will help you in protecting that which is most precious.

A new law went into effect on September 1st, 2005 makes it compulsory for anyone with children in the car to ensure they are adequately seated in either an infant seat, child seat, or booster seat. This applies to parents, as well as to caregivers, including babysitters and even grandparents.

Here are some guidelines to help you figure out which seat is appropriate for your child(ren):

For Infants - Use a rear-facing car seat until the child is:
  • at least 9 kg (20 lbs.)
  • one, in age
For Toddlers – Your child can use a forward-facing seat if they:
  • weigh more than 9kg (20 lbs.) and less than 18 kg (40 lbs.)
  • are between one and eight years old
Forward-facing seats must use a tether strap, and vehicles which do not have an anchor in place for the strap must have one installed. This can be easily done by calling a dealership. Also the shoulder straps of the seat must be at or above the child’s shoulders. There should only be a finger-width gap between the strap and the child's collarbone.

For Pre-School to 8 Years - Your child should be using a booster seat if they:
  • are under eight years old
  • weigh more than 18 kg (40 lbs.) and less than 36 kg (80 lbs.)
  • are less than 145 cm (4’9”)
For Children Over 8 Years - Your child can wear a seatbelt alone when they:
  • turn eight years old
  • weigh 36 kg (80 lbs)
  • are 145 cm (4’9”) tall
Here are some things to keep in mind once you choose the car seat that suits your child:
  • Do not install a fit a rear-facing child seat in front of an active airbag; this can be exceedingly dangerous, and lethal. Children under 13 are safest in the back seat.
  • Regardless of time constraints, you must always use a car or booster seat; it is now the law.
  • Be sure that you are able to correctly install your seat and use the correct hardware such as tether strap and locking clip. Read the instructions carefully and seek advice if you do not understand them. There are often car seat clinics held by the local police in your area. Contact them for locations and times.
  • Pull belts and buckles tight and check them before every trip. You should only be able to fit one finger between the harness straps and the child's collarbone.
  • Be sure to use your body weight to push the child car seat into the vehicle seat while tightening and fastening the seat belt. Make sure the child car seat moves no more than 2.5 cm (1”).
  • Try not to dress your child in bulky clothing. If a blanket is needed, place it over the harness straps to help keep your child warm. (There are special blankets available to use with child car seats).
For proper instruction on car seat installation, contact you local police department, to see if they have car seat clinics in your area. You can also contact the Infant and Toddler Safety Association (ITSA), located in Kitchener at 1-800-667-3422 ext.111.

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