Issue: Child passenger safety

Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of injury-related death for Canadian children. Action must be taken to reduce the risk of crashes. Steps must also be taken to reduce the risk of injury when a crash occurs.

Car crashes kill more children than any other cause of injury in Canada. What amounts to over two classrooms of children die in cars each year, and thousands more are injured.

Problem: Low booster seat use

While at least 75 per cent of young children are restrained in car seats, nearly 75 per cent of Canadian children between ages four to nine were not protected by booster seats, according to Transport Canada.

Solutions

Mandatory booster seat use

When installed correctly and used according to the child’s stage of physical development:

  • Car seats reduce the chances of injury or death by as much as 75 per cent.
  • Car seats can reduce the risk of death by 71 per cent for infants under age one and 54 per cent for children ages one to four.
  • Car seats reduce the risk of hospitalization by 67 per cent for children age four and under.
  • Booster seats provide up to 60 per cent more protection than seatbelts alone.

Legislation

Research demonstrates that booster seat legislation is an effective way to ensure that children are placed in the correct car seat for their stage of physical development. Currently, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not have booster seat legislation in place.  

Additional solutions

Education, enforcement and increased government investment in child passenger safety are also needed to make Canada’s roads the safest possible for children and youth.

Strategies that can be implemented to increase the level of children’s safety include:

  • Investing in research related to the design and use of car seats.
  • Making child restraint safety a priority in preventive care.
  • Having health professionals assess child restraint use as part of patient visits.