Current Activities in Canada Relating to the Protection of Children in Automobile Accidents 840529

Over the past 10 to 15 years in Canada considerable effort has been devoted to increasing the protection afforded children while travelling in a motor vehicle. Federal standards governing the performance of all child car seats were first introduced in Canada in 1972. Since then, these regulations have been upgraded to incorporate dynamic testing and expanded in scope to include infant carriers and booster cushions. The development of these regulations is reviewed, and proposed amendments, both with respect to regulations concerning child car seats and the provision of tether anchorages in vehicles, are described.
To date seven provinces in Canada have introduced legislation rendering the use of occupant restraint systems compulsory for most occupants of cars and trucks. Their requirements, as they apply to children, are outlined. Numerous public education programs aimed at increasing public awareness of the need for children to be properly secured while travelling in a motor vehicle have also been conducted. Several of these programs are highlighted.
Drawing on accident data compiled for two selected provinces in Canada, the injury experience of children as vehicle occupants is reviewed, with particular attention paid to restraint use and seating position. Legislation making the use of restraints compulsory has rendered accurate assessment of restraint system performance difficult, owing to the extent to which restraint use is now over-reported in the accident data. Nevertheless, the positive benefits derived by children either through the use of seat belts or child restraint devices have again been confirmed.


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