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Why should Ontario parents care about car seat expiry dates?

Expectant and new parents are often very concerned about child safety. Purchases made for a baby occur only after thorough research is done on product safety. Over time, as family life becomes increasingly busy, parents sometimes become less vigilant about this issue.

No Ontario parent wants to place a child in danger. However, parents who neglect to follow car seat laws compromise a child's safety. Both national and provincial laws apply to child restraint systems.

Canada does not require the makers of child car seats and booster seats to place expiration dates on their products, but manufacturers do it anyway. A useful life or expiry date indicates the end of a car or booster seat's safety shelf-life. Any car or booster seat used, sold or given away after the expiry date may not meet regulations and can pose a danger to children.

Child restraint laws differ from province to province, although all car and booster seats must conform to Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Car or booster seats manufactured before 2012 may not comply with the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.

Ontario's Highway Traffic Act requires children up to nine kilograms to be placed in a rear-facing car seat. A forward-facing seat is suitable for children weighing between nine and 18 kilograms.

Booster seats are designed for children younger than eight, less than 145 centimeters in height and weighing between 18 and 36 kilograms. Seats belts can be used for older, taller and heavier children, although parents are advised to keep children in a car seat until height and weight limits are reached.

Parents may face legal penalties for failing to follow manufacturers' instructions or using a car or booster seat past the expiry date. Unfortunately, even the most safety-conscious parent can't prevent all child injuries. A lawyer may be able to help parents recover compensation for injuries caused by negligent drivers.

Source: Transport Canada, "UPDATE - Children’s car seats and booster seats: How long are they safe?," accessed Sep. 17, 2015

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