Improperly installed child car seats risk lives ─ Manitoba Public Insurance

Children across the province could be at risk due to improperly installed child car seats or the complete absence of any restraint device in motor vehicles.

About 80 per cent of child car seats in Manitoba are not properly installed, according to Manitoba Public Insurance. On the national level, a recent Transport Canada survey indicates that one in 20 children are not restrained at all when in a moving vehicle.

With the objective to improve child passenger safety, Manitoba Public Insurance will be hosting a series of free child car seat clinics in Winnipeg, Brandon and Steinbach (in 2014) to encourage and support parents and caregivers on how to properly restrain their child when on the road. The child car seat inspections and presentations are a joint effort between Manitoba’s public auto insurer and its safety partners – St. John’s Ambulance, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, Brandon Fire Department and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

In addition to the car seat clinics, other Manitoba Public Insurance education efforts include car seat information sessions to parent groups. There are currently four presentations booked for March, 2014.

“Children are the most vulnerable members of our society and their safety should be a priority for all Manitobans,” MaryAnn Kempe, vice-president, Community & Corporate Relations, Manitoba Public Insurance said today. “Knowing how to install a child car seat and restrain your child correctly is the single most important way to protect them in the event of a collision. That’s why these inspection clinics are so vital.”

Nationwide, more than 70 children under the age of 12 are killed and over 10,000 others are injured in car crashes each year.

“The more opportunities for inspections we can get out to parents, the more knowledgeable they will become,” added Kempe. “As a result, the risk of their children being injured will be greatly reduced. These free inspections are a means of supporting parents and enabling them to provide the greatest care for their loved ones.”

Manitoba Public Insurance has worked with St. John Ambulance and its national Child Restraint System training program since 2002 to certify people to become child car seat technicians. This training – provided free by Manitoba Public Insurance – allows the technicians to properly inspect car seat installations. There are two training sessions planned for March.

Common car seat errors include:

  • Securing the child restraint system too loosely
  • Improper use of the vehicle restraining system while securing the seat
  • Harness straps and/or chest clips that are too loose or too low
  • Children who are transitioned to the next car seat stage prematurely

“Knowing how to properly install a seat and restrain your child can be extremely tricky,” added Kempe. “Reading instructions in a manual or online isn’t the as seeing a demonstration up close. That’s why these inspection clinics are so important – they provide hands on training on how to secure your children.”

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