Oakville Car Seat Fail Has Halton Police Concerned

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June 17, 2017 at 1:09 am

An array of excuses were given to Halton police by a large number of parents who failed a random car seat inspection in Oakville.

An array of excuses were given to Halton police by a large number of parents who failed a random car seat inspection in Oakville.

Officers heard “everything from ‘I’ve been a parent for six years, I can take care of my child’,” to “‘I drive a big truck, it’ll protect us’,” said traffic services Sgt. Ryan Snow.

Then there was an argumentative mom who claimed the scales being used were five pounds underweight, “and unfortunately, a motorist who justified not cooperating on it being a holiday within their cultural calendar,” Snow said.

The four-hour blitz, or “clinic” as Snow dubbed it, took place on June 10 with police inspecting 179 seats, including 106 car seats, 66 boosters, and seven seatbelts.

Three-quarters, or 80 out of 106 car seat checks failed.

Parents with booster seats didn’t fare much better: nearly half – 30 out of 66 , or 45 per cent – of checks tanked.

On top of that, “significant” issues were identified in 73 vehicles, leaving folks from the Halton Partners for Car Seat Safety (HPCSS) coalition – which includes OPP, firefighters, and community volunteers – no choice but to fully inspect seats.

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

Two charges and one warning were issued.

Precious cargo included infants all the way up to eight-year-olds in booster seats.

The fail rates “provide a snapshot of what is most certainly a widespread issue across the region,” said Snow.

He said he thinks parents aren’t taking the matter seriously for several reasons, such as lack of time or confusing installation instructions. Then there are parents who don’t readjust the seat as their child grows, or kids who complain so parents move them into booster seats too early.

Cost may even be a factor: Seats sold in the U.S. are “way cheaper but not allowed here,” Snow said.

Other times, it’s just negligence.

“We had a grandmother in a seatbelt with a four-year-old in Georgetown back on May 27,” he said.

“The excuse then was, ‘we were only going a short distance.'”

Fail rates for drivers stopped in Georgetown were much lower: the car seat figure was 62 per cent, with booster seats scoring 26 per cent.

Police say even the most cautious drivers should take extra steps to make sure kids are properly buckled in.

“Parents need to understand they may end up in a collision with their child because of another motorist’s poor driving behaviour,” Snow said.

The bottom line “is no parent wants to have a hand in injuring their child,” said Snow.

“All the charges in the world won’t bring a child back in the event of a tragic outcome.”


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