Properly used, seat belts significantly decrease your risk for serious injury or death in the event of a collision. This is because they hold your body in place during impact. But to work as intended, seat belts require the passenger to be a certain size. This why car seats are essential and non-negotiable for children and infants.
Child Seat Requirements By Age Group
In British Columbia, provincial law specifies four age groups, each with their own indicated category of child seating and restraint systems. They’re as follows:
- Infants. Until they reach 12 months of age or exceed a weight of 9 kilograms (20 pounds), children should be seated in a rear-facing car seat.
- Toddlers. Children over a year old or heavier than 9 kilograms (20 pounds), should be strapped in a forward-facing car seat until they reach a weight of 18 kilograms (40 pounds).
- Under nine years old. From the time they’re too big for their car seats, children should be switched to a booster seat until they reach a height of 145 centimetres (4 feet, 9 inches).
- Youth over nine years old. If they meet the necessary height requirement, children can sit without a booster seat and will be well-protected so long as their seat belt is properly adjusted.
These rules are meant to keep children safe. Every year in British Columbia, 1,300 children are injured in motor vehicle accidents and five die. Properly used, child seats reduce the risk of fatality by 71 per cent.
Important Tips for Parents
It’s important to not switch your child to a new type of seat too early. In particular, infants should use rear-facing seats for as long as possible as they offer the best protection. They provide much better head and neck support and reduce the risk of injuries to these sensitive areas.
Also remember that avoiding collisions and driving defensively should be your priority.
Why Child Seats Are Important
Always remember that no matter how secure a regular seat belt may look, it’s not designed to protect people under a certain height. When used improperly, seat belts can make it more likely that a child will be injured, even in a minor collision.
A Driving School with Safety Always Top of Mind
North Shore Driving School is proud to offer comprehensive driving courses. From North and West Vancouver to Burnaby, we’re here to help. We also provide a range of courses designed for beginners and experienced drivers alike, so contact us to learn more about our driving courses.