Children and Seat Belts

If children are unable to fasten their seat belts, they must be placed in child safety seats that are appropriate for their weight and height.

Child safety seats

As of April 2019, the Highway Safety Code requires that children be secured in a car seat that is appropriate for their weight and height until they are 145 cm tall or 9 years old.

Before using a regular seat belt

The child’s position in the vehicle’s seat must be checked:

  • when seated, the child’s back must be flat against the backrest and his or her legs must be long enough that the knees are bent over the edge of the seat—the child must be able to maintain this position comfortably and without effort throughout the trip
  • when the seat belt is fastened, it must cross:
    • over the middle of the shoulder (collarbone) and not over the neck
    • over the hips (pelvis) and not over the stomach

If children are not tall enough

Children who are not tall enough will tend to slide under the seat belt to get comfortable. In that position, the seat belt presses against their necks and stomachs, which could lead to serious injuries to the spine or internal organs in the event of an accident.

As long as a child isn’t tall enough, the child must continue to use a booster seat.

Chidren and seat belts: what to avoid

  • Never put the seat belt behind a child's back or under the child's arm. In the event of an accident, the child could be seriously injured.
  • Never place a child in the front passenger seat. Even if children are properly buckled in, they can be seriously injured or killed in the event of a collision should the front airbags be deployed. Children tend to move around a lot in their seats and could easily find themselves too close to the front airbags when a collision occurs. This is why it is recommended that children under age 12 ride in the back seat.

Riding in a taxi or using a rideshare service with a young child

You must follow certain rules when riding in these types of vehicles with young children. Should you fail to follow them, you will face fines and demerit points.

See the Seat Belts in Taxis and Rideshare Service Vehichles section for information on how to avoid problems and ride safely.

Last update: June  3, 2022