Keeping kids safe in cars – a priority

Presented by DPJL Agency
Did you know that one in every two children in Quebec isn’t safely fastened into their car seat? Around 1,000 children in Quebec aged nine or under are killed or injured in car accidents every year, according to the SAAQ (Quebec government’s vehicle agency). In many cases, this is due to incorrect use of car seats. In fact, an SAAQ study concludes that approximately half the kids in Quebec are unsafe in cars for this reason. Besides endangering kids’ lives, the incorrect use of car seats is an offence under Quebec’s Highway Safety Code.
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How to choose a suitable car seat for kids 

First, choose a car seat that corresponds to your child’s weight:

  • Eggshell-type car seats for newborns need to be installed facing the rear of the vehicle and are recommended for children weighing up to 10 kg (22 pounds).
  • The next model size up – for children weighing up to 29 kg (64 pounds) – faces the front of the vehicle.
  • If a child aged 4 or 5 weighs at least 18 kg (40 pounds), think about using a booster seat. However, you have to consider how mature the child is and whether they can sit upright for an entire journey. Booster seats are no longer required when the child, sitting upright, is big enough to have their knees bending over the edge of the backseat.
  • Remember that children under 12 years of age should always sit in the back. Also, all acceptable child car seats are required to show Transport Canada’s National Safety Mark (NSM).

How to install a child car seat in your vehicle

According to the SAAQ, a properly installed child car seat can reduce the risks of death or serious injury from a vehicle accident by up to 70%. Here’s what to do:

  • Install the child car seat on the backseat because that’s the safest place in the vehicle.
  • Position the seat far away from any airbags.
  • Fasten the seat to the vehicle’s Universal Anchorage System (UAS).
  • Position baby car seats facing towards the rear of the vehicle.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter when fastening the seat’s straps and harnesses.

What if I’m offered a used child car seat?

Before thinking about getting a used child car seat, check its expiry date sticker. If the sticker is missing or the expiry date has passed, the seat can’t be used. You also need to have the seat’s instructions manual, and all the seat’s parts need to be in order. Also make sure that the used seat has never been involved in an accident or recalled by the manufacturer.

Note: Health Canada prohibits the use of any child car seat manufactured prior to  2012. It’s also illegal to install a child car seat purchased in the United States because they do not meet Canadian safety standards.

Other child safety precautions when on a trip

  • Make sure items are stored in closed compartments or fastened firmly.
  • Plan everything your child will need for the trip and think about some games to keep them happy so that they don’t distract you too much while you’re driving.
  • Never leave your child alone in the vehicle.

And what if I’m in an accident?

First make sure that everyone’s okay. If your child is in the vehicle, call emergency services to confirm that they haven’t been injured. And you’ll need to buy a new child car seat even if the old one seems in perfect condition, or even if your child wasn’t in the vehicle. The seat could have suffered non-visible mechanical damage that could affect its effectiveness. Check with your insurance representative whether you can be reimbursed for the replacement expense once you’ve filed your claim*.

Keep the seat. When you make your claim, your claims adjuster will guide you on how to replace it.

Check with your insurance representative to learn more about the insurance coverage for your child car seat.

*This website provides general information only. Your insurance policy contract takes precedence at all times.

Contact a DPJL agent for some advice or get a car insurance quote.

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