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Car Seat Safety: Who You Gonna Call?

As a mom, you want to be able to find out as much information on safety for your children as you can; you, of course, want to give them the opportunity to  learn for themselves, but when it comes to the big stuff, you want to make sure you do your part to make sure they are safe, healthy, and happy. Shockingly, finding this information can be a lot harder than you’d expect.

Who are the first people you’d think to call? Insurance? ICBC? BCAA? Road safety businesses? Police? Fire Department?

Recently, I needed to check to be sure that my youngest child was in the proper car seat for his age and size.  Considering that finding the correct information was an easy task when my oldest was his age (that was only 5-6 years ago), I was shocked to find out that, not only is the information difficult to find, but,it turns out that the people you would think should know these rules and laws don’t.

I needed to go on a trip, which required me to take a Greyhound bus to another town.  While in the other town, I would travel by vehicle, so it was vital for me to being a car seat: I wanted to make sure that I was bringing the right equipment for the job. There is information about safety and usage on the seat itself and online, but the information is basic and they do not have any information on what to do when your child doesn’t fit all the height and weight criteria or only fits part of it.

I was looking at my son’s 5-point harness seat to make sure he was still the appropriate size and weight for his seat; it turns out that he was only partially in the right seat: his particular seat is rated for 40 lbs and 40 inches in height. Well, since my son is under 40 lbs, he does not meet the weight requirements to get out of his 5-point harness, but he is actually too tall— over 40 inches tall— for it. So what is a mom to do? It is better and safer to move him to a booster seat, despite being underweight, or keep him in a 5-point harness that he’s too tall for?

Where people in other provinces would start their search, I can’t be sure, but for me, I looked online at the ICBC website and, when I only found the same information that was provide on my son’s car seat, I called ICBC to ask them what the rules are and if I should keep him in his current seat or move him to the next stage. They could not tell me, but said that BCAA had a department that “specialized” in the car seat “safety rules”. Again, I could not find what I needed, so I called BCAA; their department was not open on the weekends and none of the departments had andy solutions or information for me.

Frustrated, I called non-emergency police services to see if they had information I did not and to find the best course of action: they basically told me that they could not inform me. I then tried the fire department, who I’d called when my eldest was young, and discovered they no longer provide that information or know what the “current” laws are. They were, however, able to direct me to a business that, not only had the information, but trained their staff on the laws and regulations: Baby & Me, a retail store.

For all those mom’s in Kelowna, that read this and are looking for information, that may not be within the “norm”, the place to call is called Baby & Me. This store, by the way, is very awesome. I called them and they were able to tell me that there is actually an in between seat or a seat with a higher weight and height cap out; a seat that no one else seemed to know about.  I’m so glad they did.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to purchase the seat due to time and monetary constraints.  Instead, they gave me the information I needed to keep my son safe on our trip: keep him in his 5-point harness.  This store and its employees really went the extra mile: they ensured my son’s safety and donated the seat to my family. Thank you to all those at Baby & Me for assisting a mother and child in need; my son is in an amazing seat. I know now that he will be safe until he can fully transition into a booster seat.

I’m not sure if this is the same in all towns/cities, but it is frustrating to know that those in charge of our laws and rules of the road do not know how help civilians in their “out of the norm” situations, but they can charge you if you don’t follow the rules.  Yikes.  It’s a good thing we’re able to find the information without them.

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