When Not to Use a Booster Seat

booster seatWhen I was young, we thought nothing of throwing a mattress in the back of the station wagon, loading up my brother and sisters and heading off on holidays. We would sprawl on that mattress reading comic books or playing games. Sometimes we even fought over whose turn it was to be in the back.

Fast forward to the current day and no self respecting parent would consider doing this. Each child from day one to age nine (or 145 cm in height) has to have their own specially designed child restraint to hold them safely and protect them if they are involved in a crash. We all know that children and airbags don't mix either and we have carefully read the owner's manual for the seats and our vehicle so we know exactly what is correct and what will harm.

Our lawmakers have recently amended the child restraint rules to mandate the use of booster seats for older children instead of leaving the decision to parents. No doubt you have heard about this rule coming into effect this past July 1 and prepared for it by purchasing the needed restraint.

However, did you know that in one specific condition, you could be ticketed for putting a child in a booster seat? Booster seats are designed for use with a lap and shoulder belt combination. If your vehicle has only a lap belt for a seating position, it really isn't a good place for a child that fits the booster seat requirements, with or without it.

It will cause less harm to that child during a collision if they are restrained using only the lap belt. In fact, our new law forbids using a booster seat with only a lap belt. For more information on the proper use of both booster seats and seatbelts for younger vehicle passengers, please visit the links listed below and be sure that you know exactly what to do to properly protect children riding with you.

The Law in B.C.:

36.06(3) Despite subsection (1), if none of the available seat belt assemblies in the vehicle have an upper torso restraint, other than the driver's seat belt assembly, then a child referred to in subsection (1) must be fastened without a booster seat using a seat belt assembly with a pelvic restraint.

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