A health professional’s role is to coach and support parents in learning about car seats and booster seats. Health care professionals should know that seat belts are designed to fit adults, not children. The proper use of a car seat reduces the likelihood of a child being injured or killed in a crash by as much as 71%.
It is the driver’s responsibility by Alberta law to ensure that passengers under 16 years of age are buckled up correctly. For children under 40 lb (18 kg) or under 6 years of age, the law states the following:
- An appropriate child safety seat must be used.
- The child safety seat must be correctly installed in the vehicle.
- The child must be properly secured into the seat.
The Provincial Injury Prevention Program (PIPP) promotes supporting parents to be their own car seat inspectors. This includes encouraging parents to use the resources available to them to help them use and install a car seat or booster seat. These resources include
- the instructions that came with their car seat or booster seat.
- the instructions contained in their vehicle owner's manual.
- the YES Tests on MyHealth.Alberta.ca to help parents properly use and install a car seat or booster seat.
This is a preferred approach instead of seeking out opportunities to have their car seat inspected by a certified technician, emergency responder, or insurance provider.
- Car seat guidelines, stated by the manufacturer, are based on a child's age, weight and height. Encourage your client to take the following Yes Tests found on MyHealth.Alberta.ca to determine the best car seat for their child:
- Rear-facing YES test
A child is safest in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 2 years old or reach the maximum weight or height limit for the rear-facing seat (as stated by the manufacturer). Rear-facing car seats that have higher weight and height limits are preferred and will keep a child in the safer, rear-facing position beyond age 2.
- Forward-facing YES test
A child who is at least 2 years old or has reached the maximum weight or height limit of the rear-facing seat (as stated by the manufacturer) should ride in a forward-facing car seat. A child should stay in the forward-facing car seat until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of the seat (as stated by the manufacturer).
- Booster seat YES test
Once a child has reached the maximum forward-facing weight or height limit of their car seat (as stated by the manufacturer), they should move into a booster seat. A child is safest in a booster seat until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of the seat (as stated by the manufacturer).
- For information on how to secure a preterm or low birth weight baby into a rear-facing car seat refer your clients to the Preterm or Low Birth Weight Babies and Rear-facing Car Seats