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New driving law aims to protect children

Overview

Published: 07/24/2012

by William Roebuck

 Effective September 1, it became mandatory for anyone transporting children in a vehicle in Ontario to make sure the children are properly secured in either an infant seat, child seat or booster seat. This law applies to all caregivers, from babysitters and nannies to grandparents and friends.

Rear-facing infant car seats are required for infants weighing 9 kg (20 lb) or less. Forward-facing child car seats are required for children weighing between 9 kg and 18 kg (20 to 40 lb) -- children about one year of age and up.

Booster seats -- this is a new addition to the law -- are required for children under the age of eight weighing more than 18 kg but less than 36 kg (40-80 lb) and who stand less than 145 cm (4 ft 9 in. or 57 in.) tall.

A child can start using a seatbelt alone once any one of the following criteria is met:

* the child turns eight years old

* the child weighs 36 kg (80 lb)

* the child is 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall.

As well, the government will no longer collect PST on booster seats. Child and infant seats are already PST-exempt.

Booster seats will provide about 60 per cent more protection than seat belts alone for children in the four to eight age group, often called 'the forgotten children' regarding child restraints in vehicles.

Drivers are responsible for ensuring passengers under 16 years of age are properly secured. Children under 13 years of age are safest in the rear seat of a vehicle, away from active airbags.

Drivers who fail to use booster or child car seats, or who use them incorrectly, face two demerit points plus a $110 fine. Booster seats cost between $30 and $160.

Parents and caregivers can get more information about how to properly install child car seats or booster seats by attending a child car seat inspection clinic in their area. For details on upcoming clinics in the Greater Toronto Area visit www.mto.gov.on.ca.

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