You may have seen this news segment from CBS This Morning that raises safety concerns about some car booster seats. As the BestFit Coordinator and car seat technician for the Ottawa Safety Council, my heart breaks for the little girl mentioned in the segment, Jillian, and her family. This reminds me of how important our job is and how the work we do can prevent injuries and save lives. Although this unfortunate incident happened in the United States, we can certainly learn from it here in Canada.
When purchasing and installing a car seat or booster seat, please review the following car seat safety tips:
- Keep your child fully harnessed as long as possible. Most car seats can accommodate children up to 65lbs. This is the average weight of a 9 to 10-year-old. There is no reason to rush into a booster seat. In Canada, it is legal to use a booster seat once your child reaches 40lbs. This does not mean that you have to switch your child to a booster seat at 40lbs! Keep your child in a harness seat until it is outgrown.
- Booster seat fit and installation is just as important as car seat fit and installation. We see just as many incorrectly installed booster seats as car seats. When choosing a booster seat, it is important to make sure that it fits your vehicle and your child properly. Not all boosters work in all vehicles, and not all boosters work for all children! If you’re not sure, register for a BestFit Clinic to make sure your child is safe in their booster seat.
- Don’t be fooled by what you read on the box! Side impact protection is not a federally regulated safety standard. Transport Canada runs all sorts of safety tests on car seats and booster seats to ensure they meet a specific standard; however, side-impact testing is not on this list. Any reference to “Side Impact Protection” is coming directly from the manufacturer. Keep in mind that they are trying to market their product. Of course, they care about child safety, but at the end of the day, they want to make a sale. Be a smart consumer – do your research, ask questions, and talk to a technician.
I’d like to thank Jillian’s parents, Jay and Lindsay Brown, for sharing their story so we can all learn and make sure we are doing everything we can to keep our children safe on the road. As always, education is key. Drive safe.
For more information on car seat safety as well as our BestFit Car Seat and Booster Seat Clinics, please visit our website.
Kristen Guptill, BestFit Coordinator