SASKATOON – Buckle up or be ticketed – that’s SGI’s traffic safety spotlight for the month of June.
Police will be ensuring travellers use appropriate restraint devices, whether it’s a seatbelt, infant seat or booster seat.
Wearing a seatbelt and having babies and toddlers properly restrained is the law.
Starting June 27, new Saskatchewan legislation will make booster seats mandatory for children under seven.
Caregivers with kids shorter than 4’9” or less than 80 pounds, even if they are seven, should seriously consider sticking with a booster seat, although it is not law.
SGI is encouraging guardians to make sure every child is properly secured because seatbelts can do more harm than good if not properly fitted.
“If the seatbelt isn’t on the boney structure of the hip and across the middle of the shoulder a number of serious injuries can occur,” said Shannon Ell, manager of SGI’s traffic safety promotion.
“The child could receive internal injuries from the lap portion of the belt tightening across the stomach, spinal injuries if the upper torso isn’t properly secured and head injuries if the child flies forward and the head connects with something inside the vehicle.”
According to SGI, 84 children aged six and under were injured and two were killed while riding in vehicles during 2012.
Of those, 18 injured children were not restrained at all or were improperly restrained. Another 28 of the injured children were belted by a seatbelt that may have been inappropriate.
“Children come in all sizes, so ensuring you have the proper fit for your child is key,” said Ell.
To determine if the seatbelt fits your child properly, follow these steps:
If answer is no to any of the questions above, SGI says the child should stay in a booster seat.
SGI sponsors free child restraint clinics and appointments are available anytime throughout the province.