Behaviours – Seat Belts

Children and Seat Belts

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

Child seat belt

Under the Highway Safety Code, children whose sitting height is less than 63 cm (measured from the seat to the top of the head) must be secured in an appropriate car seat that is adapted to their weight and height.

Note, however, that a new measure will come into effect on April 18, 2019. Children will have to be secured in a child safety seat that is appropriate for their weight and height until they are 9 years old or at least 145 cm tall.

Before using a regular seat belt

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

  • when seated, the child’s back is flat against the seat and his or her legs are 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 crosses:
    • over the middle of the shoulder (the collarbone) and not over the neck
    • over the hips, and not over the stomach

If children are not tall enough

Children who are not tall enough and whose legs are too short to bend over the edge of the seat will tend to slide under the seat belt to get comfortable and keep their calves from resting on the edge of the seat.

In the event of a collision or sudden braking, this could lead to serious injuries to the spine or internal organs because the seat belt is pressing against the abdomen rather than on the hips.

As long as a child isn't tall enough

The child must continue to use a booster seat. Most children under 8 years of age will have to use a booster seat, and some will have to use one until they are 12.


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 with a young child

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

See our Seat Belts and Taxis section for information on how to avoid problems and ride in a taxi safely.