Independent Government Study Shows Alarmingly Low Booster Seat Use Across Canada



    An estimated 1.8 million children are unknowingly at risk of serious
    injury

    WINDSOR, ON, June 4 /CNW/ -- According to new research completed by the
national automotive research network AUTO21 for Transport Canada, only 28
percent of children between the ages of 4 and 8 nationwide are properly
secured in booster or child seats when traveling in a vehicle. Too large for
baby seats and too small for seat belts only, this age group experiences about
10 times more deaths and injuries during car crashes than babies and toddlers.
Throughout Canada -- even in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, where laws
requiring booster seat use are in effect -- 72 percent of children ages 4 to 8
are restrained in seat belts only, which places an estimated 1.8 million
children at risk of serious injury in the event of a crash.

    In-Vehicle Restraint Usage Among 4-8 Year-Old Children

    
    Province                     Booster/Child       Seat Belt
                                     Seat              Only
    Canada                          28.0 %            72.0 %
    Newfoundland                     5.3 %            94.7 %
    Prince Edward                   17.4 %            82.6 %
    Island
    Nova Scotia                     22.8 %            77.2 %
    New Brunswick                   26.4 %            73.6 %
    Quebec                          30.9 %            69.1 %
    Ontario                         34.3 %            65.7 %
    Manitoba                        17.7 %            82.3 %
    Saskatchewan                    25.2 %            74.8 %
    Alberta                         29.3 %            70.7 %
    British                         26.7 %            73.3 %
    Columbia
    NW Territories                  31.6 %            68.4 %
    

    The prevailing use of seat belts for children in vehicles suggests
parents want to do what's right to protect their children, but need a better
understanding of the risks presented by seat belts when they are not used with
a booster seat. The reason for the danger is the poor fit of safety belt
systems for children, which are designed to protect adults.
    "It is critical to the welfare of our children that we get the word out
on not only using booster seats, but also the dangers of not using them," said
Anne Snowdon, Ph.D., University of Windsor professor and AUTO21 Health, Safety
and Injury Prevention theme coordinator. "Kids are dying and being injured at
an alarming rate -- about 100 children in Canada under the age of 10 die in
vehicle collisions every year -- and in 80 percent of cases it's seat belts
causing harm because children from ages 4 to 8 don't fit in them properly
without a belt-positioning booster seat."
    The new research by AUTO21 -- the most detailed and comprehensive study
on children's restraint use ever conducted in Canada and the first in 10 years
-- is based on observing more than 13,500 children across Canada. In addition
to determining the number of school-aged children in boosters, the study
examined in-vehicle restraint practices across a broad range of ages, heights
and weights, from infants to 14 year-olds. Dr. Snowdon will present the study
findings at the Canadian Multidisciplinary Road Safety Conference in Montreal
this week. A copy of the scientific, peer-reviewed manuscript is available for
download at http://www.auto21.ca.

    Kid approval reduces resistance to booster use

    "The total solution requires a combination of legislation, parent
knowledge and seats that kids want to sit in," said Snowdon. "We believe we
can attack the lack of booster seat usage through new seating products that
parents and kids are more inclined to use."
    In line with this three-pronged strategy, AUTO21 researchers teamed with
Magna Aftermarket to develop the unique clek(TM) booster seat. Clek was
designed for convenience and safety, and with the goal of reducing child
opposition to booster seats through a more comfortable, stylish option.
    "Clek looks and feels like a real seat, offering improved comfort and
ergonomic advantages that reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve and keep a
child's legs and feet from going numb on longer car rides," added Snowdon.
It's also the only backless booster seat on the market that locks directly to
a vehicle's LATCH system, providing a secure connection for improved
stability. And by offering accessories and personalization, children are
included in the selection-making process, which helps overcome the stigma of
"sitting in a baby seat."
    The clek seat conforms to all applicable requirements of Canadian Motor
Vehicle Safety Standards and bears the National Safety Mark. For more
information visit http://www.magnaclek.com.
    AUTO21 currently supports more than 260 researchers and 500 student
researchers working on 41 auto-related research and development projects at 42
Canadian universities and institutions. The projects are supported by more
than $12 million per year in combined public and private sector funding.
Research is conducted in the areas of health, safety, and injury prevention;
societal issues; materials and manufacturing; design processes; powertrains,
fuels and emissions; and intelligent systems and sensors. AUTO21 is funded
through the Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada program. For more
information, visit http://www.auto21.ca.





For further information:

For further information: NOTE TO EDITOR: High-resolution photography of
the clek booster seat is available for download at http://clek.quell.com.
Spokespersons are available for interview from AUTO21 and Magna Aftermarket.
High-quality video is available for broadcast media upon request. For further
information: Scott Worden The Quell Group, +1-248-649-8900, sworden@quell.com

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AUTO21

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MAGNA AFTERMARKET INC.

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