Navigating through child safety seat law
Published Friday, May 4, 2012 4:46PM MDT
The recent deaths of children in motor vehicle collisions in the province have raised concerns about seat belts and child safety seat laws.
In Alberta, the law states that all drivers and passengers must be buckled in and it is the driver's responsibility to ensure all passengers under 16 comply.
Children who weigh less that 18 kg or 40 lbs must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat and the seat must be properly installed.
The Alberta law says:
- Parents can keep their baby rear-facing in an approved seat as long as possible, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Alberta law does not set the weight or age at which a child moves from a rear-facing to a forward-facing position.
- Parents must use an approved child safety seat with a harness until their child weighs at least 18 kg (40 lb) or is 6 years of age. After that, Alberta law does not set an upper weight limit for the use of an approved child safety seat. Parents can keep a child in the safer 5-point harness to a weight of up to 30 kg (65 lb), according to the manufacturer's instructions for the seat.
"If they are small and just in a seatbelt, you may as well not even have a seatbelt because that seatbelt is going to come across their neck and the impact will be taken by the neck and internal organs as opposed to the shoulder and pelvic bone," said Tracey Warren from Childsafe Canada.
Warren says the biggest problem she sees is the transition from a booster seat to a seatbelt and says the decision should depend on how well your child fits the seat.
The province says that the odds of a child being injured or killed in a crash can be reduced up to 75 percent by using a car seat of booster seat.
The fine for not buckling up in Alberta is $115.
For more information on child safety seats, visit the Alberta Occupant Restraint Program website.