New Seatbelt Regulations Will Help Protect Children

Department of Transportation and Public Works (to Oct. 23 2007)

December 21, 2005 9:35 AM

Changes in seatbelt regulations will help protect children from the leading cause of injury and death.

Motor vehicle collisions claim more lives and cause more injuries for children and youth than any other cause in Canada. The new changes will require children to be buckled into a proper-fitting booster seat until they are old enough, or large enough, to safely use an ordinary seatbelt.

"Securing children into the right kind of car seat makes a huge difference," said Transportation and Public Works Minister Ron Russell. "When correctly used and installed, child car seats can reduce deaths by about 90 per cent and injuries by 70 per cent. These changes are going to protect our children if they are involved in a crash."

The new regulations take effect Jan. 1, 2007, and will help parents choose the right kind of car seat, based on the size and age of their child. Under the rules:
-- Infants must be secured in a rear-facing child seat;
-- Children who weigh at least 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and are at least one year old may face forward;
-- Children who weigh less than 18 kilograms (40 pounds) must be in child seats.
-- Children who weigh more than 18 kilograms must be in a booster seat if they are younger than nine years of age and/or less than 145 centimetres (57 inches) tall.

"Seatbelts save lives -- adult lives. In a crash, seatbelts can cause serious injury to children who have outgrown infant car seats but are still too small for adult seatbelts," Mr. Russell said.

He thanked members of the road safety advisory committee's vehicle occupant safety sub-committee for helping to define the child restraint criteria and for their recommendations to government in support of the new regulations.

"Our committee is thrilled that our hard work and efforts have resulted in this very important change," said Patricia Gallagher, chair of the sub-committee. "We thank the Nova Scotia government for its support of this initiative and its commitment to young children. Many of our committee members are parents as well as medical professionals, educators and road safety professionals and this issue has been very near and dear to all of us. We couldn't be more pleased."

Mr. Russell said the province is giving parents and care-givers plenty of notice before the regulations take effect so they can ensure their children are properly secured inside a car or truck.

"On behalf of the Canadian Pediatric Society and all Nova Scotia child health care workers, I would like to applaud the government's initiative in bringing forward mandatory booster seats for children under nine years of age," said Dr. Andrew Lynk, chair of the child and teen action committee for the Canadian Pediatric Society and a Sydney consulting pediatrician.

"For about the cost of a tank of gas, parents can purchase a booster seat that will help protect children from serious injury in the event of a motor vehicle accident," Dr. Lynk said. "Booster seats have proven to be far more protective for children than plain seatbelts."

Nova Scotia is the third province in Canada to adopt booster seat regulations.

Health Promotion Minister Rodney MacDonald also thanked the sub-committee. "This work is going to reduce injury among Nova Scotia's children. It is a good example of health promotion in action," he said, adding that Nova Scotia has Canada's only government-funded injury prevention strategy. Road safety is one of that strategy's priorities.

The province will work with groups like the IWK Health Centre's Child Safety Link to promote the new regulations throughout the year.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The Department of Transportation and Public Works is

strengthening the Motor Vehicle Act to ensure children are

properly buckled up when riding in cars or trucks.

     On January first, 2007, children younger than nine who are

under 145 centimetres tall will have to be strapped into a

booster seat. When children reach 18 kilograms, they can make the

shift to a booster seat.

      The new rules also say that infants must be secured in a

rear-facing child seat. One year-olds who weigh 10 kilograms may

face forward.

     Child car seats can reduce deaths by about 90 per cent and

injuries by 70 per cent.

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Media Contact: Linda Laffin
              Transportation and Public Works
              902-424-3289
              E-mail: llaffin@gov.ns.ca

              Kim Mundle
              Child Safety Link
              902-470-6774
              1-866-288-1388 toll free