Booster seats help prevent injuries in young children

September 29, 2017

LHSC’s Injury Prevention Team was at Rick Hansen Public School recently to participate in a booster seat awareness event to coincide with the Ontario Provincial Police seat belt campaign. 

In the London and Middlesex region, motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of unintentional injury and are the number one cause of death for children under the age of 14. 

According to the OPP, more than 70 per cent of the total number of children who should be seated in a booster seat when they ride in a vehicle are using an improperly installed child restraint or none at all. An improperly used restraint increases risk of injury in collisions or sudden stops. 

Why are booster seats so important? 

Seat belts in passenger vehicles are designed specifically for adults. Booster seats place the seatbelt in the correct position so that the forces of a collision are distributed across the strongest regions of a child’s bodies. When a child is too small for the vehicle’s seatbelts, the crash forces can be distributed to the child’s neck or across their stomach which can lead to serious injuries. 

Before transitioning a child to a booster seat it is safest to keep them in their five point harness child restraint until they reach either the upper height or weight limit.

Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act requires that children must use a booster seat if they are: 

  • under 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall, 
  • weigh less than 36 kg (80 lbs), and
  • are under the age of eight. 

The booster seat event at Rick Hansen Public School included representatives from London Health Sciences Centre, Middlesex London Health Unit, the London Police Service, Middlesex OPP, the London Fire Department, Middlesex EMS, and the Thames Valley District School Board.