While most parents know about the necessity of car seats for babies, many are not aware of the need to properly restrain older children. Seat belts are designed for people who are at least 4'9" (145cm) tall.
In a collision, a seat belt that fits properly puts pressure evenly across the shoulder, chest, and hip bones – the strongest parts of the body. When a child is too small for a seat belt, it crosses over more vulnerable places, such as the neck and stomach.
The New Brunswick Medical Society has been a long-time supporter of seat belt legislation. Dr. David Flower (President) says "Traffic accident statistics tell us that children are being injured because they are being moved too quickly from booster seats to using seatbelts alone. Seatbelts save lives, but they are designed for adults. Booster seats position a child to simulate the height of an adult so that they will get the full benefit of the protection provided by a seatbelt."
Most booster seats are not attached directly to the vehicle. They are a seating platform for the child. The child sits on the booster and then the seat belt assembly is routed over the child’s shoulder and hip area, holding both the child and booster into the vehicle. There are some boosters that do affix directly to the vehicle using the Universal Anchorage System (UAS). The booster is affixed to the vehicle, the child sits on the platform and then the seat belt assembly is placed over the child appropriately.
Transport Canada recommends that all children 12 and under be seated in the back seat of the vehicle. If you must have your child ride in the front seat, be sure they are restrained appropriately and that the vehicle seat is as far back from the dashboard as possible. In addition, ensure that the air bag (if present) is deactivated.
- Putting a child into a booster seat too soon
- Putting a child to an adult seat belt too soon
- Placing the shoulder belt behind the child's back or under the arm
It is the driver's responsibility to ensure that all passengers under the age of 16 are properly restrained.
To view up-to-date product recalls including car seats, you can visit the Child Restraint and Booster Cushion Notices website by Transport Canada or call Transport Canada at 1-800-333-0371.
Drivers using vehicles rented in New Brunswick must comply with the booster seat legislation if carrying passengers who require a booster seat. Booster seats can usually be rented from the vehicle rental company.
The minimum fine for non-compliance is $172.50. No demerit points are lost.The new regulation is effective as of May 1, 2008.