Update: March 26, 2011 Child Car Seats, December 30, 2010 Ontario’s Seatbelt Law is 35 Years Old – January 1, 2011, December 2, 2010 Harper Government Stalls and Delays Child Seat Safety Legislation for Another Year
Canada needs to do more to invest in the health and safety of children not only to avoid putting them at risk but also to drive the economy, according to a new report. The new report titled “Are We Doing Enough? – A status report on Canadian public policy and child and youth health – 2012 Edition” was put together by the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS)
Tuesday’ biennial report from the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) concludes federal, provincial and territorial governments could take concrete steps to better protect and promote kids’ health and well-being in areas such as injury and disease prevention.
“There continues to be a piecemeal approach to keeping children and youth healthy and safe in Canada and it’s putting kids at risk,” said Dr. Andrew Lynk, the group’s vice-president.
Government-led health promotion strategies such as car booster seats save lives and prevent injury, they said. The report’s authors gave British Columbia and Ontario a mark of “excellent” for their booster-seat legislation. Alberta and Saskatchewan scored a “poor” for having no law.
Manitoba was “fair” because its legislation needs to be stronger, the group said.
The territories also received a poor or fair grade, Quebec was awarded a mark of “good,” while the Atlantic provinces were all rated as excellent.
Booster seats are designed to protect children who have outgrown their car seats but are still too small to be properly protected by a seatbelt.
Improving Mental Health
The paediatric society also said evidence is mounting on the value of early investments in youth and children.
Child poverty leads to higher health care costs that take a toll on human potential and productivity, they said.
The group urged governments to implement programs aimed at reducing the economic disparities in Canada, where it said nearly 700,000 of the country’s five million children live in poverty.
Similarly, CPS called for investments in early childhood education, saying estimates of the return to society on every dollar spent on such programs vary from $4 to $8.
Many provinces and territories have introduced policies to improve the mental health of children and youth but there is more to be done, the report’s authors said.
In Labrador on Tuesday, federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and Peter Penashue, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, announced funding for researchers to review and analyze evidence on suicide prevention and to make the information available to community members and leaders.
Provinces and territories were commended in the report for continuing to strengthen anti-smoking laws, with all earning grades of “excellent” or “good.”
The report also evaluated provinces and territories on newborn hearing screening and an enhanced 18-month well-baby visit. Ontario earned an “excellent” for the well-baby visit and all other provinces and territories scored “poor.”
The grades were “kind of a scatterbag,” Lynk said.
“It’s a big motivating factor because who wants to be the health minister and know that your province isn’t doing as well as your neighbour next door in something as important as child and youth health.
Booster Seat Legislation
Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death among Canadian children over one year of age. 66,67 Child passenger restraints reduce the risk of serious injury by between 40% and 60%. 68,69 In fact, improved car seat design and the increased use of child restraints resulted in a 50% drop in the number of child passengers who died in motor-vehicle accidents between 1993 and 2006.
Although all provinces and territories require by law the use of restraint systems for children up to about 4 years old, children aged 4 to 8 years often graduate prematurely to seat belt use, increasing their risk of injury, disability and death. In a collision, children using seat belts instead of booster seats are 3.5 times more likely to suffer a serious injury and 4 times more likely to suffer a head injury. Yet while 78% of parents support the use of booster seats,72 only 30% are using them.
The CPS recommends that provinces and territories require children weighing between 18 kg and 36 kg and travelling in a vehicle to be
properly secured in a booster seat in the back seat.
Legislative changes should be complemented by appropriate enforcement measures and public education programs to ensure that parents adopt and use booster seats properly. Legislation should be uniform across Canada to make it easier for families to comply with regulations.
Booster Seat Legislation Across Canada
Province/Territory 2009 Status: 2011 Status: Recommended actions:
British Columbia Excellent Excellent Meets all CPS recommendations
Alberta Poor Poor Enact booster seat legislation.
Saskatchewan Poor Poor Enact booster seat legislation.
Manitoba Poor Fair Enact booster seat legisislation for children weighing 22 – 36 kg.
Ontario Excellent Excellent Meets all CPS recommendations.
Quebec Good Good Revise legislation to provide for a child’s height (a minimum 145cm), as well as weight.
New Brunswick Excellent Excellent Meets all CPS recommendations.
Nova Scotia Excellent Excellent Meets all CPS recommendations.
Prince Edward Island Excellent Excellent Meets all CPS recommendations.
Newfoundland and Labrador Excellent Excellent Meets all CPS recommendations.
Yukon Fair Fair Enact booster seat legislation for children weighing 22 kg to 36 kg.
Northwest Territories Poor Poor Enact booster seat legislation.
Nunavut Poor Poor Enact booster seat legislation.
Excellent: Province/territory has legislation in place requiring children to be in an approved booster seat until they reach the height of 145 cm or 9 years of age, and a weight minimum of 18 kg to 36 kg. Public education programs are in place.
Good: Province/territory has legislation in place requiring children to be in an approved booster seat until they reach the height of 145 cm or an age specifi ed as less than 9 years, and a weight minimum of 18 kg to 22 kg. Public education programs are in place.
Fair: Province/territory requires the use of a booster seat after children have outgrown their front-facing safety seat, but legislation is based on age and/or weight criteria without mentioning height. Public education programs are in place.
Poor: Province/territory has no booster seat legislation for children weighing over 18 kg.
Car Time Stages
There are four Car Time Stages. The right stage for your child depends on their weight and height.
New standards for children’s car seats set by the federal government, including an increased maximum allowable weight, take effect January 1, 2012.
The upgraded requirements for the safety devices put Canada’s rules more in line with those in the United States and “will meet Canada’s highest testing standards and therefore will be as safe as possible,” Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said.
Some of the changes include an increased maximum allowable weight for a car seat to 30 kilograms from 22 kg and changing the definition of an infant to 10 kg from 9 kg to ensure children are in seats appropriate for their size.
Parents won’t have to replace existing car and booster seats once these new regulations take effect in the New Year. A seat should be replaced if it was installed in a vehicle involved in a collision or if the materials on the seat are ripped or damaged. Parents should also check the expiry date on their child’s seat.
Here’s a look at all of the new requirements:
• a new testing requirement using a three-point seatbelt to secure car seats in vehicles;
• changes to child seats’ dynamic testing to adopt most of the U.S. testing parameters;
• changing the definition of an infant from 9 kg to 10 kg;
• an increase in the maximum allowable weight limit of child seats from 22 kg to 30 kg;
• introducing dynamic testing requirements for booster seats; and
• allowing harnesses to be certified for use on school buses by special needs children.
Press this link for information on car seat guidelines and proper installation.