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Booster Seat Laws In Ontario

As per the Ministry of Transportation, car accidents are the leading cause of death among children in Canada. As a result of this alarming statistic, Ontario child car seat laws have been established to help protect children that are involved in car accidents. Industry experts regularly revisit and improve these child car seat laws with the aim of ensuring the safety of children while travelling in a car. It is the responsibility of drivers with children to know of and stay updated on the latest rules and regulations regarding child car seats, including booster seats. Failure to comply with Ontario’s child car seat laws can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and two demerit points for those drivers who are caught with child passengers who are not in appropriate seats for their age, height, and weight.

The Purpose Of Ontario’s Car Seat Laws

In its basic sense, Ontario’s car seat laws were established to ensure the safety of vehicular passengers of all ages and sizes. As such, these laws are regularly updated based on the latest findings on vehicular safety. As an example of this, it is recommended for drivers in Ontario to use rear-facing child seats away from airbags, for both toddlers and infants. 

To put it another way, Ontario’s car seat laws are in place in order to make sure that adults are taking responsibility for the safety of child passengers. Through their proper installation and use, child car seats, booster seats, and seatbelts have evolved through the years to optimise the safety of children. This is especially important for children who grow quickly and require properly fitted car seats adjusted accordingly to their needs. 

In Ontario, studies have shown that by complying with and implementing existing child car seat laws, drivers can reduce the following risks:

  • The risk of serious injury and death is reduced by 54% in toddlers.

  • The risk of serious injury and death is reduced by 71% in infants.

Purpose Of A Booster Seat

In Ontario, a child can travel in a booster seat once it outgrows their front-facing toddler seat. Booster seats are specifically designed to allow small children to reach an adequate height where they can reach an adult seatbelt. 

In Ontario, booster seat laws require children between 18 to 36 kilograms (40 to 80 pounds) or children who stand 4’9” or less to use booster seats. The age for booster seats in Ontario is eight years old or younger, as long as they fall within the height requirements specific to booster seat laws. It is also a good idea to check the manufacturer’s guidelines and to abide by the recommended use of booster seats according to the height and weight of the child. 

Booster Seat Safety Tips

When your child outgrows their forward-facing car seat and is ready to travel in a booster seat, follow these tips to properly use your booster seat: 

  • Only use a booster seat in a vehicle seat position that has both a lap and a shoulder seat belt.

  • Place the booster seat in the back seat away from an active airbag.

  • Adjust the lap and shoulder belts. The shoulder strap lies centred across your child’s shoulder (not the neck or face) and middle of the chest. The lap belt crosses low over the hips (not stomach). Do not use seat belt adjusters.

  • Make sure your child's head is supported by the top of the booster seat, the vehicle seat or the headrest.

If you have any questions regarding the use of booster seats and how we can best ensure your child’s safety while on the road, please contact us today so that we can meet all of your insurance needs.