Police agencies focusing on seatbelts and child restraints in June

In November of 2019, three-year-old Kinsley Powell was in the backseat of her grandfather’s SUV on Highway 2 near Wakaw.

As they rounded a curve, an oncoming car swerved, straightened out and then lost control and slammed into the SUV, almost head-on.

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The resulting head-on crash was very violent, resulting in the tragic death of the car’s driver and severe injuries to Kinsley’s grandfather.

Kinsley’s mom, Jasmine Draude, was travelling to the same destination in a separate vehicle. She arrived on the scene moments after the collision took place, even before first responders. Jasmine found Kinsley was completely uninjured, aside from a couple of scratches from the curtain airbag, thanks to being properly restrained in her car seat.

“It was terrifying to see my father’s SUV partially in the ditch, with its front end destroyed, knowing my daughter was in that vehicle,” Jasmine said. “If Kinsley wasn’t properly secured in her car seat, there is no doubt she would have been very, very badly hurt... or worse.” 

Because she was properly fastened in that car seat, Kinsley is now a vibrant five-year-old who loves spending time at the lake, dancing, and going for bike rides with her family.

In a collision or sudden stop, properly fastened occupant restraints – seatbelts for adults, car seats and boosters for kids – can mean the difference between death/serious injury and walking away unscathed.

Saskatchewan law enforcement and SGI are focusing on seatbelts and child restraints this month as a part of the June Traffic Safety Spotlight. As part of the campaign, SGI will be sharing tips and resources for families who are ready to make a change in how they buckle up and a commitment to always buckle up, even on short trips.

“Parents are always looking out for the safety of their children, but may have questions about when their little ones want to grow up and use the same seatbelt system as Mom and Dad,“ said Penny McCune, Chief Operating Officer of the Auto Fund. “We want parents to remember that your child’s size and weight is the only way to decide when to change what seat they use in your vehicle. It’s about making sure they fit the restraint system properly.”

Child seats are mandatory for all children in Saskatchewan who are:

·Under age 7

·Less than 145 cm (4’9”) in height and

·Under 36 kg (80 lb.) in weight.

SGI recommends that children remain in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 9 kg (22 lb) and shouldn’t transition to a booster seat until they are at least 18 kg (40lb). Child seats are not one-size-fits-all so be sure to check the manufacturer’s sizing instructions before you make the change. Children 12 and under should always sit in the back, away from where the front airbags deploy.

Keeping kids safe while in a vehicle can be challenging, but there are plenty of resources to help. Always read the manufacturer’s guidelines that came with your car seat and follow their instructions. SGI has resources on our website about car seats and booster seats. If you need more help, reach out to a car seat technician in your area and make an appointment.

SGI will be featuring more tips and videos about car seats and seatbelts throughout the month of June on our FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn accounts.