Nova Scotia

Boy wants tougher booster seat rules

A nine-year-old Halifax boy is calling for an extension to the age limit for children's booster seats in vehicles in Nova Scotia.
Kieran Sharpe wants kids to use booster seats until they're four feet, nine inches tall - regardless of their age. ((CBC))
A nine-year-old Halifax boy is calling for an extension to the age limit for children's booster seats in vehicles in Nova Scotia.

Right now, the law says children must ride in booster seats until they are four feet nine inches tall or nine years old.

But Kieran Sharpe said kids should be tall enough before they get out of the booster seat.

When Kieran goes for a ride in his family's car, he climbs into a booster seat — even though he's nine years old and the law says he doesn't have to.

"The law says nine years old or four foot nine, but I prefer following the four foot nine because I've done the research and it is safer till four foot nine in the booster seat," he said Thursday.

Most kids can't wait to get out of their booster seats, but at four foot seven inches, Kieran said he's not getting rid of his until he grows two inches. He said that wearing a seatbelt without one isn't worth the risk.

"You may crush your internal organs 'cause if the seatbelt isn't in the right place that may happen," he said.

Kieran has experts on his side. The booster seat positions the seatbelt properly on a child's body and reduces the risk of injury and death by about 60 per cent.

Kieran Sharpe is launching a booster seat slogan. ((CBC))
Kieran is launching a campaign to make more children and parents aware of the dangers and convince politicians to drop the nine-year-old age limit. He's come up with a booster seat slogan: "It's not sissy. It's safety."

And Kieran is going to conduct an experiment at his school to prove that most children are too short to give up their booster seats when they hit nine years of age.

"And I'm going to see how many nine year olds and 10 year olds meet the height and don't meet the height," he said.

Kim Mundle, with Child Safety Link at the IWK Health Centre, said Kieran has a point.

"The law is just the minimum, trying to provide guidance across the board," she said. "But the main priority is do what will keep your child the safest."

Kent Speiran, of the Transportation Department, said the provincial government doesn't plan to review the law now, but that could change.

"As evidence comes in, we'll look at our existing legislation and then we'll consider whether we need to change that or not based upon evidence and research."

Kieran will take his message to the top Friday. He has a meeting with Premier Darrell Dexter, and he plans to take his booster seat with him.