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Car Seat & Booster Seat Safety in Ontario

By Matt Lalande in Car Accidents, Hamilton Personal Injury Lawyer on August 31, 2022

Car Seat & Booster Seat Safety in Ontario

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car seats are important in reducing pediatric injuries and fatalities among infants and young children in car accidents. Car seats have been shown to reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers aged one to four.

However, car seats can only protect children if they are used correctly. That means that the car seat must be appropriate for the child’s age, height, and weight; it must be properly installed in the car, and the child must be properly secured in the seat.

Unsecured children are at a much higher risk of being injured or killed in a car accident than those who are properly restrained. In fact, according to the NHTSA, unrestrained children are three times more likely to be seriously injured in a car crash than those who are properly secured. While car seats help reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities among children in car accidents, it is important to ensure they are used correctly to maximize their protection.

The Types of Different Car Seats on the Market

Car seats come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all share the same goal: to keep your child safe in the event of a car accident. The type of car seat you need will depend on your child’s age and size. For infants and toddlers, a car seat is a must. These seats are designed to protect your child’s head and neck in the event of a collision. For older children, a booster seat can be used. Booster seats raise your child up so that the seatbelt fits correctly across their chest and lap. Using the proper car seat for your child’s age and size is the best way to keep them safe on the road.

The following are the main different types of car seats in Canada:

Infant Car Seats: An infant car seat is a car seat designed specifically for infants. Most infant car seats are rear-facing, meaning that the baby sits facing the back of the car. This is the safest position for infants in car seats, as it reduces the risk of serious injury in the event of a car accident. Infant car seats typically have a weight limit of around 30 pounds, so they can be used until the baby reaches that weight or is too tall for the seat. At that point, the child can then transition to a forward-facing car seat.

Convertible Car Seats: A convertible car seat is a type of car seat that can be used for both babies and toddlers. Convertible car seats have a five-point harness system that helps to keep the child securely in their seat, and they also have a higher weight limit than other types of car seats. Convertible car seats can be installed in either the front or back seat of the car, and they can be used with either a lap or shoulder belt. When choosing a convertible car seat, it is important to consider the weight and height limits, as well as the features that are available. Convertible car seats are an essential piece of safety equipment for anyone who has a baby or toddler in their car.

Booster Seats: A booster seat is a car seat designed to boost a child up so that the seat belt fits properly. booster seats are for bigger kids who have outgrown their car seats, but are not yet big enough to sit in a regular seat with the seat belt alone. The booster seat raises the child up so that the shoulder strap lies across the chest, and the lap belt rests low on the hips and pelvis, rather than riding up on the stomach. This gives the child the best possible protection in case of a crash. Booster seats must be used with both a lap and shoulder belt. Many booster seats now come with a high-back for additional support and protection in case of a side-impact collision. Booster seats are usually recommended for children between 4 and 8 years old, or until they are big enough to use a regular seat belt properly.

All-in-One Car Seats: When it comes to car safety, all-in-one car seats are the way to go. Not only do they provide superior protection in the event of an accident, but they also offer a wide range of features that can be customized to fit any child’s needs. All-in-one car seats can be used for infants, toddlers, and even young children up to the age of 12. In addition, all-in-one car seats can be easily installed in both forward- and rear-facing positions. And because all-in-one car seats are designed to grow with your child, they can be used for years to come.

Installing a Car and Booster Seat

Installing a car seat correctly is critical to keeping your child safe in case of a car accident. Booster seats are recommended for children who have outgrown their car seats but are still too small to use a seat belt alone. To install a booster seat, first identify the lap and shoulder belts in your vehicle. The shoulder belt should lay across the center of the booster seat, and the lap belt should go through the booster-seat belt path or around the back of the seat. Make sure the shoulder belt is not twisted, and then thread the seat belt through the appropriate slots on the booster seat. Once the seat belt is in place, adjust it so that it fits snugly against your child’s body. For a more secure installation, some booster seats come with a tether strap that can be attached to an anchor point in the vehicle. When installing a car seat or booster seat, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a safe and secure fit.

In addition, to ensure that car seats are installed correctly and provide optimal protection in the event of a car accident, it is important to:

  • read and follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions;
  • read and follow the vehicle owner’s manual;
  • make sure the car seat is appropriate for the child’s height, weight and age; and
  • install and use the car seat according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Most car seats have an expiry date of six or 10 years from the date of manufacture. It is important to check the car seat’s expiry date and never use a car seat that has expired. Expired car seats may not provide adequate protection in the event of a car accident. 

Car Seat Laws in Ontario

Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act – and in particular O-Reg 613 states that children must ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are a minimum of 20 pounds (9 kg).  Quite a lot of car seat manufacturers make rear-facing car seats for kids that weigh up to 50 lbs.

Then, kids between 20 pounds (9 kg) and 40 pounds (18 kg) must ride in an appropriate forward facing car seat.  With ongoing and evolving car seat technology and engineering some companies now make forward-facing car seats which are available for children that weigh up to 30kg (65lbs). 

Children must ride in a booster seat until they are a minimum of 4 feet, 9 inches (145 cm) tall, or a minimum of 80 pounds (36 kg), or a minimum of 8 years old. Remember, seat belts are designed for adults – not small kids. The purpose of a booster seat is to boost the child so that the seat belt is in proper position over the child’s body. A proper fit on a booster seat will allow the shoulder belt to be centred across the child’s collarbone and the lap portion of the seat belt needs to be low on the child’s hips touching the tops of their thighs.

When can a child simply use a seat belt? When the child turns 8 years of age or weighs 80 lbs or reaches a height of 4’9” or more.

What are the dangers for a child not in a car seat?

In a car accident, a child who is not properly secured in a car seat can be thrown from the vehicle or sustain serious pediatric injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car crashes are a leading cause of death and child injuries in the United States. In 2016, more than 1,500 kids under the age of 13 were killed in car crashes and nearly 280,000 were injured.

While car seats can’t prevent all child injuries, they are estimated to reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants and by 54% for toddlers. Properly used car seats also reduce the risk of severe or critical child injuries by 67% for infants and by 50% for toddlers.

Children and Car Accident Injuries

Pediatric injuries that can result from car accidents can be both minor and serious. Common car seat injuries include cuts and bruises, while more severe car seat injuries can include broken bones and concussions. Whiplash is a common car accident injury that can also occur in children, and may result in neck pain and stiffness. Internal bleeding and traumatic brain injury are two of the most serious car accident injuries that can occur in children and can have lifelong consequences.

If your child has been injured in a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Even if the injuries seem minor, they may still require treatment. If your child has any serious car accident injury symptoms, such as a headache, confusion, or vomiting, it is important to go to the hospital immediately. car accidents can be frightening and overwhelming, but getting the proper medical care for your child is of the utmost importance.

The Most Dangerous Types of Car Accidents for Children

Car accidents are a leading cause of pediatric injuries in Canada and in the United States. Every year, thousands of children are hurt in car accidents, and many of these accidents could have been prevented if the driver had made better choices. While any car accident has the potential to cause harm to a child, there are certain types of accidents that are more likely to result in serious injuries. 

Head-on collisions: A head-on collision is a type of car accident that occurs when the front end of one vehicle collides with the front end of another vehicle. Head-on collisions are often very serious and can even be fatal. This is because the impact of the collision is concentrated in a small area and can cause serious damage to the occupants of both vehicles. Head-on collisions can be caused by a variety of factors, including distracted driving, speeding, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To help avoid head-on collisions, it is important to always pay attention to the road ahead, and to drive at a safe speed. If you are ever involved in a head-on collision, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Rollover accidents: Roll-over car accidents are one of the most dangerous types of car accidents that can happen on the road. They are typically caused when a vehicle hits a patch of ice or a curb, causing it to roll over. Roll-over car accidents can also be caused by speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Roll-over car accidents often result in serious injuries or even death. If you are involved in a roll-over car accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately and to contact a lawyer who specializes in roll-over car accidents.

Rear-end collisions: A rear-end collision is a type of car accident that occurs when one vehicle rear-ends another. Rear-end collisions are typically caused by driver error, such as tailgating, texting, or distracted driving. Rear-end collisions can also be caused by environmental factors, such as poor road conditions or suddenly stopping traffic. Rear-end collisions often result in minor injuries, such as whiplash, but can also cause more serious injuries, such as concussions or broken bones. In some cases, rear-end collisions can even be fatal.

Side-impact collisions: A side impact collision – or otherwise known as a broadside or t-bone collision, is a car accident where the side of one vehicle impacts the side of another vehicle. These car accidents usually occur when one vehicle fails to yield the right of way to another vehicle and T-bones the other car. These types of car accidents can be especially dangerous because they often result in serious injuries, such as hip and knee fractures as well as severe traumatic brain injury. In some cases, side impact collisions can even be fatal.

Faq Summary

How long do I need to keep my baby in a rear-facing car seat in Ontario?

Children in Ontario must be properly restrained in a ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are a minimum of 20 pounds (9 kg).  

How long do I have to keep my infant in a car seat in Ontario?

Children in Ontario must be properly restrained in a forward facing car seat while they weigh between 20 pounds (9 kg) and 40 pounds (18 kg).

How long does my child need to stay in a booster seat for in Ontario?

Children must ride in a booster seat until they are a minimum of 4 feet, 9 inches (145 cm) tall, or a minimum of 80 pounds (36 kg), or a minimum of 8 years old.

When can my child use a normal seat belt?

When the child turns 8 years of age or weighs 80 lbs or reaches a height of 4’9” or more.

Can I put a rear facing car seat in the front-set?

Never put a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of a car with an active passenger airbag. The force of an airbag can seriously injure or even kill a child in a rear-facing car seat.

Who can help install my car seat?

If you’re not sure how to install a car seat or booster seat, ask a certified car seat safety technician for help. You can usually find one at your local fire department or police station.

Has your Hamilton Car Accident Lawyers Represented many Kids Hurt in Car Accidents?

Yes, since 2003, our Hamilton Car Accident Lawyers have represented countless kids hurt in car accidents, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents. Hamilton Car Accident Lawyer

If your Child has Been Hurt in a Car Accident, Don’t Delay. Contact Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers today.

Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers are personal injury accident lawyers who have been serving injured kids and their families in the Hamilton community since 2003. If your child has been seriously injured in a car accident, call us today.It is important that your child’s future is protected if he or she suffers life changing personal injuries. Compensation needs to be in place early to help your child as he or she ages – economically and non-economically.

Call us no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the Southern Ontario region at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can send us a confidential email through our website – and we would be happy to get back to you.

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