Issue: Child passenger safety

Transport injuries are a leading cause of injury-related death for Canadian children. Action must be taken to reduce the risk of crashes. Steps must also be taken to reduce the risk of injury when a crash occurs.

Transport injuries kill more children than any other cause of injury in Canada. What amounts to more than two classrooms of children die on our roads each year and thousands more are injured.

Problem: Low booster seat use

According to a report by Transport Canada, 86 per cent of children under four were restrained in car seats, while just 32 per cent of children ages four to eight were in a booster seat.


Mandatory booster seat use

When installed correctly and used according to the child’s stage of physical development:

  • Car seats are estimated to reduce the risk of injury in children by 71 to 82 per cent.  
  • Car seats are estimated to reduce the risk of death among children by 28 per cent when compared against the use of a seat belt alone.
  • Booster seats reduce the risk of non-fatal injury by 45 per cent when compared against the use of seat belts alone in children aged four to eight years old.


Research demonstrates that booster seat legislation is an effective way to ensure that children are placed in the correct restraint for their stage of physical development. Currently, Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not have booster seat legislation in place.  

Additional solutions

Education, enforcement and increased government investment in child passenger safety are also needed to make Canada’s roads the safest possible for children and youth.

Strategies that can be implemented to increase the level of children’s safety include:

  • Investing in research related to the design and use of car seats.
  • Making child restraint safety a priority in preventive care.
  • Having health professionals assess child restraint use as part of patient visits.
  • Educating parents on the importance of booster seats and providing incentives for purchase (e.g., booster seat discount coupons, gift certificates).