Changes were made to the requirements for booster seats as part of traffic safety law changes made June 27, 2014. The following are some common questions and answers to help you better understand these changes.
Questions and Answers
What is the criteria around mandatory booster seats?
Booster seats are now mandatory for children under 7 years of age, less than 145 cm (4'9") in height and under 36 kg (80 lb.) in weight.
So what if my child is older than 7, but still less than the height and weight requirements?
In that situation, the child would not be required by law to be in a booster seat. SGI strongly promotes the use of infant, child and booster seats. Children come in all sizes, so ensuring you have the proper fit for your child is key. If your child is using a seatbelt, it's important to make sure the seatbelt fits properly.
I’m not sure if my child should be in a seatbelt yet. How do I know if it's safe?
In order to work properly, a seatbelt needs to fit correctly to mitigate injuries in a crash. Take the seatbelt stage test. If you answer no to any of the following questions, the seatbelt doesn't fit your child correctly and your child should be in a booster seat:
- Can your child sit comfortably with his or her back against the vehicle's seat back?
- Do your child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the vehicle's seat?
- Is the lap portion of the seatbelt as low as possible, touching the child's thighs? (lap belt should be snug over hips)
- Does the shoulder portion of the seatbelt cross the middle of the shoulder? (shoulder belt should be snug across the middle of the shoulder and chest)
- Can your child stay comfortably seated like this for the whole trip?
What kind of injuries could a child sustain?
If the seatbelt isn't on the boney structure of the hip and across the middle of the shoulder a number of injuries can occur, such as:
- internal injuries from the lap portion of the belt tightening across the stomach
- spinal injuries if the upper torso isn't properly secured
- head injuries if the upper torso flies forward and the head contacts with something inside the vehicle
Do you have any supporting statistics showing that it's an issue for children not to be restrained?
In 2012 in Saskatchewan, there were 92 children under the age of 7 injured and 2 killed while riding in a vehicle. Fourteen of the children injured were not restrained at all or were improperly restrained. In addition, 28 of the injured children were belted by a seatbelt that may have been inappropriate for the child.
What is the rationale behind making booster seats mandatory?
This was one of the recommendations made by the Special Committee on Traffic Safety. The committee was formed by government last year to address the high rate of injuries and deaths on Saskatchewan roads. The decision was made in order to prevent deaths and injuries from children being improperly restrained.
How did you decide on under 7 years of age for mandatory booster seats?
The government is committed to the safety of our children. By making booster seats mandatory for children under 7 years of age and less than 145 cm (4’9”) in height and 36 kg (80 lb.) in weight, Saskatchewan will join BC, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland as a province with mandatory booster seat legislation. Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut currently do not have booster seat legislation in place. SGI is continuously reviewing its safety initiatives to determine their effectiveness.
How does the new booster seat legislation compare to other jurisdictions?
Saskatchewan will join British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland as a province with mandatory booster seats. Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut currently do not have booster seat legislation in place.
Why not increase the size and weight requirements for car seats, to make kids stay in car seats longer, instead of making booster seats mandatory?
Increasing weights for car seats is a federal issue. It falls under the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
What is the fine if you don't use a booster seat?
If your child meets the criteria and is not in a booster seat, the fine is $175. This is the same amount charged for failing to wear a seatbelt or failing to have a child properly restrained in an infant or car seat.
Are demerit points part of this fine?
Yes, drivers will also receive 3 demerit points in the Safe Driver Recognition program. Depending where you sit on the safety rating scale, you may also have to pay a financial penalty or lose insurance discounts.
Will anyone travelling Saskatchewan's road be handed a $175 ticket for not having a child in a booster seat or is this just for Saskatchewan residents?
The law applies to anyone travelling in Saskatchewan, not just Saskatchewan residents.
What is the best seating position in the vehicle for a booster seat?
Booster seats require a lap and shoulder belt to secure the child properly, so any position in the back seat that has a lap and shoulder belt assembly will work.