New booster seat law aims to reduce serious injuries

Law aims to ensure children are better protected in motor vehicles

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More information on booster seats

For a list of fire halls offering free inspections and resources about child seat safety, visit the Manitoba Public Insurance website

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Thursday, July 25, 2013

Under new legislation coming into effect Aug. 8, protective booster seats will be required for children who have outgrown forward-facing car seats but are still too small to safely use a seatbelt on their own, Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Rondeau announced today.

“Many children who have outgrown forward-facing child car seats are using seatbelts without a booster seat to properly position them, which makes them more susceptible to serious abdominal and spinal cord injuries in the event of a crash,” said Rondeau. “We want families to use booster seats until children can be safely and properly restrained by seatbelts alone.”

The new legislation and regulations will require the use of booster seats until children meet specific age, weight or height requirements. Starting Aug. 8, children will be required to remain in booster seats until they are at least:

  • 145 centimetres (4’9”) tall;
  • 36 kilograms (80 pounds); OR
  • Nine years old.

Under the Highway Traffic Act, Manitoba currently requires child car seats to be used until a child reaches the age of five or a weight of 22 kg (50 lbs.).

Research has shown the majority of Canadian children age four to nine are riding in vehicles using only seatbelts, putting them at risk for serious injuries in a crash.  Children who are restrained with seatbelts without booster seats are 3.5 times more likely to be injured in a car crash and 4.2 times more likely to suffer a head injury.  In Manitoba, motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of injury and death among children between the ages of four and nine.

“This new law is an important step forward for road safety in Manitoba.  Similar laws in other jurisdictions have significantly reduced deaths and serious injuries,” said Dr. Lynne Warda, medical consultant with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s injury prevention program.

“A number of large-scale studies have shown a lower risk of injury for children restrained in booster seats, with up to 82 per cent reduction in side-impact injuries, 45 per cent reduction in serious injuries and 14 per cent reduction in all types of injuries.”

Under the new legislation, booster seats must also comply with Canada’s motor vehicle safety standards and be installed and secured in a vehicle in accordance with the specifications of the device’s manufacturer.

“Through our Manitoba Child Car Seat Program, free child car seat inspections are available throughout the province by specially trained installation technicians who were certified through our program,” said MaryAnn Kempe, Vice-President, Community and Corporate Relations, Manitoba Public Insurance.

“As a road safety leader in the province, we are committed to reducing the number of deaths and injuries on our roadways.  Properly restraining our children while riding in a vehicle provides the greatest protection against injury in the event of a collision.”

“Parents want confidence that their children are secured in the safest car seat available,” said Rondeau.  “These new rules ensure child car seats in Manitoba meet Canada’s highest standards and are as safe as possible.”

The minister also noted that booster seats are on the list of items exempt from provincial sales tax, ensuring they are as affordable as possible for Manitoba families.

To help Manitobans prepare for the new rules, the provincial government, in partnership with Manitoba Public Insurance, has launched a public awareness campaign called I Need A Boost to provide education and resources for parents and guardians.

Source: Manitoba Government

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