Our oldest son just turned seven at the end of January, and I know that he is a bit embarrassed that we still have him use a car seat with a 5-point restraint for 90% of our travelling. He does have a booster seat in his dad’s truck, as he is old enough and weighs enough.
But did you know that it is recommended that children remain in their forward-facing seat until:
- they reach the maximum weight and height allowed for their seat,
- the child is at least 40 pounds,
- and six years of age?
Braden is a good kid, but quite frankly, I really don’t care what he thinks or if he feels embarrassed. I’ll happily wear the badge of Mean Mom or Uncool Mom if it keeps him safe while in the car.
Car Seat Safety and the Law
I have always been very passionate about car seat safety and it has always been of the utmost importance to me. If you travel with your children, they need to be safely secured by child safety restraints—they are required by law for children under the age of six who weigh less than 40 pounds. Not only is it the law, but in a collision, unrestrained occupants increase the risk for everyone in the vehicle, because an unrestrained occupant may hit something or someone inside the vehicle. They may also be ejected from their vehicle onto the road, guardrail or into another vehicle. Not worth it—ever!
In Alberta, the law requires that all occupants travelling in a motor vehicle use a seat belt or child safety seat that is properly worn and adjusted. I assumed that everyone in my generation grew up with this law and no one second guesses it. However, if you choose not to wear a seat belt or use a child safety seat, the fine is $155. Drivers are responsible for ensuring that all passengers under the age of 16 are properly secured using either a child safety seat or seat belt. Drivers may be fined for each unrestrained passenger under the age of 16.
What Type of Safety Restraint is Right for my Child?
If I could give just one piece of advice regarding car seat safety, it would be this: do not rush your child into the next stage of safety restraint! Just because they meet the minimum height/weight/age requirement to move to the next stage of safety restraint, it doesn’t mean they must or should.
- Children should remain in their rear facing seat until they are at least one year old, weigh at least 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and are walking independently
- Children should remain in their forward-facing seat until they reach the maximum weight and height allowed for their seat and the child is at least 18 kilograms (40 pounds) and six years of age
- Children who are under nine years of age, who weigh between 18 and 36 kilograms (40-80 pounds) or are less than 145 cm (4’9”) tall are safest in a booster seat when riding in a vehicle
- Children under the age of 12 are safest in the backseat of a vehicle in proper restraints based on their age, height, and weight.
The most essential takeaway here is this: The proper use of car seats and seat belts reduces the likelihood of sustaining an injury and decreases the severity of a possible injury.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Alberta Transportation and I received compensation for my work. All opinions on this blog are my own.