Montreal

Quebec's proposal of car seats until age 9 doesn't go far enough, experts warn

Children could be forced to sit in booster seats until they are nine years old, according to new guidelines proposed this week by the Quebec government. But safety experts say that may still be too young.

For now, kids must be in a booster seat if their sitting height is less than 63 centimeters

Right now, kids have to be in a booster seat if their sitting height is less than 63 centimeters. (IIHS)

Children could be forced to sit in booster seats until they are nine years old, according to new guidelines proposed this week by the Quebec government. But safety experts say that may still be too young. 

The car seat proposal was among 86 changes to the Highway Safety Code that were tabled in the National Assembly on Friday, before the legislature began a two-month break.

Current regulations require children to be in either a child or booster seat until their sitting height reaches 63 centimetres.

CAA Quebec says those requirements are outdated. It backs the proposal tabled Friday, and further recommends that children use booster seats until they reach four feet nine inches.

'Great proposed change,' car seat technician says

Marwa Khattab, a certified car-seat technician and founder of the child passenger safety group Kids en Route, agreed with CAA Quebec that updated regulations were overdue.

"I think it's a great proposed change," Khattab said. "I think many people take their kids out of the booster too early."
Marwa Khattab, a certified car seat technician and founder of child passenger safety group Kids en Route, said the proposals are long overdue.

But she also said the legislation doesn't go far enough. She would like to see kids in booster seats until the age of 11.

"Their bones haven't completely ossified until the ages of 12 or so. There's a big chance of internal injuries, and worse, if they aren't properly strapped in," Khattab said.

​Khattab offered a few tips for parents to help them ensure their child is safely fastened: the seat belt should cross the child's belly, not their thighs. It should also cross over the shoulder, not the neck.

According to CAA Quebec, car manufacturing standards are designed for people who are at least 1.45 metres tall, or four foot seven inches.

With files from Navneet Pall

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