As personal injury lawyers in Mississauga, there is nothing more heartbreaking than representing someone whose child has been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident.

As a parent, you want to make sure that your children are safe from harm’s way at all times. Many parents aren’t aware that every time they click their child into a car seat, they are choosing whether to keep that child safe or play with fire. Car and booster seats are carefully engineered to keep children safe. But these are only as good as the correct use of them.

The Leading Cause of Children’s Death

Today, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of children’s death in Canada. Unfortunately, many of these could have been prevented or at least mitigated with the correct use of car or booster seats. It’s important to understand how to install and use your child’s car or booster seat safely.

What is the Weight Recommendation?

Car seats specify weight requirements and it’s important for a parent to understand these and purchase the correct seat for their child’s weight. From newborns to children in excess of 60 pounds, it’s important to understand that these seats have different functions for different sized children. Unfortunately, many parents don’t properly read instructions and invariably misuse their seats putting their children at risk.

Only Use in the Car

Unless your car seat is specifically made to use as other options such as part of a stroller set up, only use your child’s car seat in the car, not as a carrier or for sleeping. The Canadian Paediatric Society says that the most dangerous place for a baby to be is in a car seat that is not properly affixed in the car. Car seats are also not designed for safe sleeping and can cause positional asphyxia which can occur when the child’s position prevents them from breathing adequately.

Avoid Bulky Clothing in the Car Seat

In a crash, bulky clothing can compress. This leaves the possibility of the straps being too loose to effectively keep a child safe in the event of an accident. Car seat advocates suggest dressing children in layers in order to remove bulky clothing before strapping them into their seat. Once your child is firmly secured, you may then tuck something warm such as a blanket around them over the harness straps.

Don’t Use Other Accessories

Unless your car seat came with extra accessories, do not use them in the car. Many toys, cushions, strap covers or other third-party accessories can put your child in danger in a crash and can void your car seat warranty.

Never Use After an Accident

If you have been involved in an accident, your car seat or booster seat may have been damaged and no longer be safe to use. You should not use that car seat or booster seat in another vehicle unless you get confirmation of its safety from the manufacturer.

Using the correct car seat or booster seat for your child ensures that your child is as safe as possible in the case of a motor vehicle accident. If you are unsure about the correct use of your car seat, you should contact the seat manufacturer. There are also some very good resources in our community to get answers including

● Transport Canada
● Canada Safety Council
● Canadian Paediatric Society
● Parachute Canada
● St. John’s Ambulance Car Seat Program

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, get the assistance of a Mississauga injury lawyer. Call the professionals at MPC Law for a no-cost consultation.