The government says stricter regulations are needed because too many children are injured and killed on B.C. roads. ((CBC))

The provincial government is bringing in tougher regulations for child car seats in an effort to better protect small children in car crashes.

Effective July 1, 2008, car booster seats will be mandatory for all children nine and under who weigh at least40 pounds and are under four-feet-nine tall.

It will also be mandatory for all drivers to use a child seat when transporting youngsters more than a year old and weighing between 20 and 40 pounds.

Babies must be placed in a rear-facing infant carrier until they're at least a year old and weigh 20 pounds. The government says the seat must not be placed in front of an active frontal airbag.

Drivers caught ignoring the new Motor Vehicle Act regulations will face a $109 fine.

Linda Reid, the minister of state for child care, said children placed in adult car seats too early are at much greater risk during crashes.

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of injury and death in B.C., Solicitor General John Les said.

"An average of 860 children aged five to nine are seriously injured every year and five are killed," Les said. "Yet currently only about 18 per cent of kids in B.C. use booster seats. We're making changes to enhance booster seat use because, quite simply, it is the responsible thing to do."