I remember in my younger years traveling all around the Lower Mainland on a daily basis in our late model import. My sister, brother, and I used to sit in the back seat while our parents sat in the front. Nothing abnormal right? It would surprise most people today that back then, hardly anybody wore seatbelts or used child seats. Maybe it was because people drove more carefully, speed limits were obeyed, and there were less distractions.
Today, even though child car seats are the law, the number of parents who allow their young children to travel in cars without the use of proper child safety restraints is unacceptable. Of all children killed in motor vehicles accidents, about 30% were unrestrained, with the remaining deaths resulting from improper use of a restraint or seat belt. Most of these needless deaths are preventable.
Child seats come in three categories: rear-facing for infants; forward-facing, five-point restraints; and booster seat. Using each of these three systems properly will ensure the maximum safety for your precious little ones.
Infants should be placed in rear-facing seats until they are 2 years of age AND at least 20 pounds. Even though some infants may become finicky, keep them rear-facing until the recommended time. I kept my daughters in rear-facing seats until they were almost 3 years of age. The next stage is the forward facing seat and children should be kept in these until they are at least 4 years of age AND 40 pounds. The final stage is the booster seat, which holds children up to 8 years of age or 80 pounds or 4’9”. Remember that these are only guidelines, but err on the side of caution.
Buy new child seats from a Canadian retailer (US seats do NOT qualify) and do not use an expired car seat. Also, keep children in the back seat until they reach the age of 13, when they can travel in the front seat.
Children are our most valuable asset. It is more important to spend the extra time and keep them buckled properly rather than take a chance, even for short trips around the block.