Majority of Drivers Failed Car Seat Check Again, Say Halton Police

Tsk tsk, parents — those of you who were stopped by Halton police in Milton have some learning to do.

Take the woman who had five kids in her minivan.

It was bad enough she didn’t have room for a handful of children in the vehicle.

But it was her comment which traffic services Sgt. Ryan Snow says irked him more than anything.

The woman, perhaps, thought she was off the hook since “two of them weren’t mine.”

Anyone under the age of 16 is the driver’s responsibility so “we had to have a bit of a chat and explain,” said Snow, adding it was a “somewhat irresponsbile comment.”

A four-hour car seat blitz, or clinic, was held on Sept. 9 with police inspecting 165 seats, including 124 car seats and 41 boosters.

The majority - 72 per cent, or 89 out of 124 - of drivers failed the car seat check.

The fail rate for booster seats was 46 per cent.

The clinic was held by the Halton Partners for Car Seat Safety (HPCSS) coalition - which includes OPP, firefighters, Halton public health, and community volunteers.

Many people aren’t familiar with the fact that inspections can be conducted, said Snow.

Some parents were “very vocal” about letting the group know “they had better places to be … that was quickly corrected with a little bit of information,” said Snow.

And now they’ve been schooled.

Safety hazards identified included improper use of the universal anchoring system (UAS), forward-facing seats not properly tethered, harness straps in the wrong position, and loose seat belts.

Another parent had a trio of kids in a very small car — the seats didn’t fit when properly affixed in the back seat.

The car just wasn’t big enough for three car seats,” said Snow.

That’s the tough part — “when you have to explain to a motorist his vehicle is too small for this family,” said Snow, adding “I realize there’s lots of folks that are struggling to get by out there.”

Safety, though, comes first.

One vehicle even had a 17-pound child in a forward-facing seat.

That’s “completely inappropriate — should’ve been rear-facing,” Snow said.

Overall, “there’s certainly a level of a lack of knowledge out there,” he said, adding when you have have kids you need to do everything in your power to ensure they’re safe.

In this day and age, ignorance really isn’t an excuse.”

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