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. Using a car seat properly can reduce the risk of injury by up to 82% and risk of death by up to 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) and 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 an alternative 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, height and weight. 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 rear-facing seat provides the best protection for a child’s head, neck and spine in a sudden stop or crash.
- Infants and young children are safest riding in a rear-facing car seat until they reach the maximum height or weight limit for rear-facing use allowed by the seat's manufacturer.
- When your baby outgrows their infant seat, move them into a larger rear-facing seat.
- Your child is safest riding rear facing until 2, 3 or even 4 years old.
- Forward-facing YES test
- When a child outgrows their larger rear-facing car seat (by height or weight), they should move into a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
- Use a forward-facing car seat with a harness until your child reaches that seat’s maximum height or weight limit.
- Booster seat YES test
- When a child outgrows their forward-facing car seat with a harness (by height or weight), they should move to a booster seat.
- A child is safest in a booster seat until they reach the maximum height or weight limit of the booster seat.
- Use a booster seat until the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly; this is typically when your child is 145 cm (4 ft. 9 in.) tall and between 8 and 12 years of age.
- 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.