Booster seats will be mandatory for children under age seven, effective June 27. To help encourage parents to comply with the change, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and Canadian Tire are working together to support child safety, offering coupons for a free booster seat to drivers when they’re caught without one.
The coupons, which will be handed out by police as “positive enforcement” instead of a ticket, will be good for one free booster seat, redeemable at any SGI claims centre in the province.
“We appreciate the support Canadian Tire has provided, helping us offer parents a solution instead of a fine or ticket when children are not properly secured in a booster seat,” Minister responsible for SGI Don McMorris said. “Our goal with the new legislation is to keep children safe and prevent deaths and injuries due to collisions on Saskatchewan roads and highways.”
Canadian Tire donated 200 booster seats for this initiative. The free booster seat coupons will be handed out by police throughout the month of July.
“Canadian Tire believes in the importance of protecting our most precious passengers - children,” Canadian Tire District Support Manager for Saskatchewan Dale Brock said. “We’re proud to be part of such a safety and community-minded initiative for Saskatchewan.”
“Seatbelts alone are not safe for children,” Regina Police Service Constable Nolan Bespalko said. “ They are not designed for a child’s smaller size and narrow frame. I have seen first hand the difference that a booster seat makes in terms of protection and preventing injuries. The decision to use a booster seat is an important one.”
The Saskatchewan Prevention Institute also supports child passenger safety with ongoing education and awareness on the importance of using booster seats and other car seats.
Effective June 27, booster seats become mandatory for children under age seven, less than 145 centimeters (4’9”) in height and under 36 kilograms (80 pounds) when riding in a vehicle. The fine for failing to secure a child in an appropriate booster seat or child car seat is $175, the same amount charged for an adult failing to wear a seatbelt.
In Saskatchewan in 2013, three children died and 88 children under age seven were injured in collisions. Seventeen of the injured children were not restrained at all or were improperly restrained. In addition, 29 of the injured children were belted by a seatbelt that may have been inappropriate for the child.
For more information on booster seats, car seat clinics, other changes to traffic safety laws, and tips for how you can be a better driver by taking the Road Safety Challenge, please visit www.sgi.sk.ca.