March is Occupant Restraint awareness month, and Red Deer RCMP and Community Peace Officers are kicking it off with a free public event where parents and caregivers can have car seats inspected or installed by qualified child safety seat inspectors. This free event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 10th at the north Canadian Tire parking lot at 6380 50th Ave. Donations of diapers, diaper wipes and formula will be accepted on behalf of the Central Alberta Diaper Bank.
“Our goal for this event is to improve child safety, and the best way to do that is to remove barriers that might keep people from properly securing infants and children in vehicles,” said Sergeant Kevin Halwa of the Red Deer RCMP traffic unit. “The event removes a potential barrier by offering car seat checks and installations for free. We’re also creating an opportunity for face to face conversations with trained car seat inspectors and RCMP traffic members – we want to answer the public’s questions and increase awareness that the best way to protect yourself, your family and your passengers is by ensuring everyone buckles up.”
RCMP will also be conducting seatbelt and occupant restraint checks throughout March through targeted campaigns and everyday patrols. According to Alberta Transportation, in 2015, individuals wearing a restraint during a collision had a lower injury rate (6.8%), compared to those who did not use restraints (22.4%) Not only does the likelihood of sustaining an injury decrease with the use of restraints, but so does the severity of the injury.
“The proper use of seatbelts and child safety seats is the law because it’s the most effective way to protect your loved ones and reduce injury and death in a collision,” says Sergeant Halwa.
In Alberta, the law requires that occupants must use all available seatbelts. The driver is responsible to ensure that all passengers under the age of 16 are properly secured using either a seatbelt or child safety seat. All children under the age of six and whose weight does not exceed 18 kg (40 lbs) must be properly restrained in a child safety seat appropriate for their age and weight. Safety experts and best practices recommend that children who have outgrown their child safety seat use a booster seat until they reach the maximum weight or height limit of that seat, as stated by the manufacturer.
The penalty for failing to wear a seatbelt, improper use of a seatbelt or failing to secure a child weighing less than 18 kg in a seatbelt is $155.