A couple of weeks ago, the Toronto Police took part in the Provincial Spring Seat Belt Campaign. We do this every year to support our other policing and safety partners to raise awareness, educate the public and of course give out some tickets. (Yes, there is your opportunity to tell me that this is just another cash grab, revenue generating program...but before you do that remember, its your choice if you want a ticket or not.)
One of our major points of focus this year was child safety seats. Through several inspection
clinics that we run every year across Toronto we regular see 80 to 90 percent of child seats that are installed incorrectly.
As a police officer, I have seen first hand the importance. You only need to see the pain in a parents face as their child is attended to by medical staff because they suffered injuries which could have been prevented had their child been properly restrained. As a father I know the importance of ensuring my children are always restrained properly in their child safety seats.
The biggest problem that I have seen about improper car seat installations is that they are simply not in tight enough. Parents put the seat belts around the seat or the latch system in place snug it down and then that's it. What about when the child gets in the seat? Do you not think their weight will create extra movement on the seat since it is no longer snug?
So, when you put your seat in, put your weight on it...pull the belts tight. Once your weight is out of it, the seat won't move. Some parents have told me that they are afraid of putting wight in it because they don't want to break it! Come on, let it break then as opposed to in a crash. (The reality is it won't break).
One of the most frustrating calls we receive is from a frantic father who has been told that he can't take his child home from the hospital because he doesn't have a proper car seat. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING FOR THE LAST 9 MONTHS...Didn't have enough time?
You can call 416-808-1975 to get information on child seat inspection clinics that are near you.
The last thing I want to talk about is what a seat belt is designed to do. It is not designed to save your life or prevent injuries. It is designed to keep you in your car and in your seat.
- Does it save lives? YES
- Does it reduce injuries? YES
- Have people died while wearing them? YES
- Have people been injured while wearing them? YES
Have less people been killed and have less injuries occurred? YES
The law is:
- One belt / one person
- All under 16 must be belted (driver responsible)
- Lap and shoulder belt must be worn properly
- All seat belts must function if someone is sitting in that spot
There are no exemptions for:
- "I was only going a short distance."
- "I just got back in the car after a quick stop."
- "But, my kids were acting up."
- "This is the first time I haven't worn it."
If you are on the road, your belt has to be on your body. If your children are in the car, they have to be secured in their properly installed seats.
Which price would you rather pay? Death or injury. Life or death, which one do you want?
Want to leave a comment? Agree, disagree? Let me know what you think. What if Health Care refused to cover you for injuries that were caused by the lack of use of a sat belt...like going through the windshield.