Child Safety Seats
Booster Seats Mandatory as of September 1st, 2005
Effective September 1st, 2005, a new law went into effect making it mandatory for anyone transporting children to make sure children are properly secured in either an infant seat, child seat, or booster seat. The law applies to all caregivers, from babysitters to grandparents.
Rear-facing infant car seats are required for infants weighing 9kg (20lbs) or less. Forward-facing child car seats are required for children weighing between 9kg and 18kg (20 to 40 lbs), children about one year of age.
Booster seats are required for children under the age of eight, weighing more than 18kg and less than 36kg (40 to 80 lbs), and who stands less than 145 cm (4 feet, 9 inches) tall.
A child can start using a seatbelt alone once any of the following criteria is met:
- Child turns eight years old
- Child weighs 36kg (80 lbs)
- Child is 145 cm (4 feet, 9 inches) tall
To properly install your seat please read both your child safety seat instruction booklet as well as your vehicle owner's manual.
The main function of a child safety seat/booster seat is to secure and restrain the body at the time of motor vehicle collision. This restraint prevents the body from being thrown around inside or thrown out of the vehicle.
Adult seatbelt systems do not provide adequate restraint for children, as they are far too big. An ill-fitting seatbelt may cause injuries due to improper placement of the lap and chest portions. Worse yet, an adult seatbelt system may fail to restrain your child at all at the time of collision.
Police officers are often asked, "What is the best child seat to buy? The short answer is that the best child seat to buy is one that meets your needs, fits your vehicle, and that you will use properly every time.
In the forward facing position the seat is secured by using the Universal Latch Restraint system (available in newer vehicles only), the vehicle seatbelt assembly and the top tether strap. The tether strap is secured to a tether strap hook installed behind the safety seat. Only one seat should be installed per tether strap hook. If you need more hooks have them installed by your vehicle manufacturer.
If you have an older model vehicle you may only have pre-drilled holes for the tether strap hook. Check with your car manufacturer to ensure your tether strap hook is installed properly.
When the car seat is installed forward facing, a five-point safety harness secures the child. The harness straps must sit at or above your child's shoulder and the chest clip should sit at chest height.
When the harness is correctly tightened you should not be able to fit more than one finger under the harness strap at the collarbone.
The government will no longer collect Provincial Sales Tax (PST) on booster seats, effective September 1st, 2005. Child and infant seats are already PST-exempt. Drivers who fail to use booster or child car seats, or who use them incorrectly, face the loss of two demerit points plus a $240 fine. For more information, visit the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Web site.
The Belleville Police Service does not recommend any specific seat; however make certain that the seat you purchase bears the CMVSS label (Canadian Motor Vehicle safety Standards label). This label shows that the seat meets the Transport Canada Standards.