The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) and Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) have announced a joint program aimed at enhancing the safety of children while riding in cars, vans and trucks.
The Child Passenger Safety Program will offer parents more access to information and hands-on help in selecting, installing and using child seats. A toll-free information line has been set up, and an increased number of child seat inspection clinics are being scheduled throughout the province.
The program was officially launched at BCAA’s head office in Burnaby, and will be followed by regional launches in Penticton, September 24 and Nanaimo, September 26. “Parents generally go to great lengths to protect their children, but evidence suggests that when it comes to ensuring they are properly protected in cars, parents are not always as knowledgeable as they should be,” says Bill Bullis, BCAA president and CEO. “Promoting road safety is a top priority for BCAA, and we believe the Child Passenger Safety Program will go a long way to helping improve the safety of the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society.”
A Transport Canada survey shows that four out of five child seats are not used properly. In many cases, the child seat being used is not properly suited for the vehicle. Many child seats are not installed correctly and the harnesses holding children are often too loose. Also, an estimated 95% of children who should be in booster seats are not – they have been put in adult seat belts too early. Proper use of child seats reduces the likelihood of a child being injured or killed by as much as 75%.
“Historically, both BCAA and ICBC have put considerable resources into improving child safety in vehicles. By combining our efforts, the results will be a stronger, more coordinated approach,” says Darlene Hyde, ICBC’s senior vice president, Corporate and Government Affairs. “Through child seat information, education, inspections and clinics, we are confident we can increase awareness of the importance of proper child passenger safety.” BCAA’s trained and certified technicians will conduct the child seat inspections free of charge. Each inspection takes approximately 15 minutes.
A province-wide toll-free number has been established to answer questions about infant and child seats and to provide information on upcoming child seat inspection clinics in B.C. The number is 1-877-247-5551.