#Children's Rights
Ms Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health

On January 1st 2012, new Transport Canada legislation regarding car seats and booster seats came into play. Manufacturers have had almost 2 years to adapt their products to meet the new Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety standards (CMVSS: the standards that regulate the manufacturing and safe function of car seats and booster seats) and in many ways, the changes have been positive.

However, the new Transport Canada legislation also came along with a link to the new Health Canada’s Hazardous Products Act: the Consumer Product Safety Act of Spring 2011. The primary confusion lies in the relationship of the two laws to each other and whether parents should be lining up to buy new car seats.

Health Canada representatives explain that that there is no need to replace a car seat that is currently in use unless the seat was involved in a car crash or is past the expiry date. But Health Canada reps also confirm that the Act states that that no product can be sold OR GIVEN AWAY unless it complies with the applicable standards [the CMVSS] on the date it is SOLD or GIVEN AWAY. Supposedly this means that parents can keep using the car seat they bought last year, but they can’t sell it or give it to their sister unless it meets the 2012 standards.

The contradictory message from Health Canada is that these seats are still safe to use if you already own/use one (barring ones that are expired, damaged or recalled) but you can be sued or fined if you give away or lend it.

We (the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada) feel that this act is unwittingly harming Canada’s high risk populations, those in the lowest socioeconomic strata as well as the working poor. The low income sectors in Canada typically rely on receiving car seats and booster seats from neighbors, friends, relatives and good hearted strangers. By fining or threatening these persons with legal action, we feel the children of low income families will be placed at risk.

→ Parents may not have a car seat or booster seat available due to the cost of purchasing a brand new seat;

→ they may not have one available for all their children and may have to make choices over who can ride in the car seat;

→ agencies or groups who assist low income parents by loaning good used car seats will have to destroy their current stock and see families without;

→ persons who have good, safe car seats to give away may choose not to do this in fear of reprisals from Health Canada and in conclusion;

→ Canadian children may be unsafe on our highways and provincial child passenger legislation maybe ignored due to the higher cost and greater fear of repercussions from the Consumer Product Safety Act.

We, the undersigned, call on Minister Leona Aglukkaq to immediately amend the Consumer Product Safety Act to allow persons to give away or lend good quality second hand car seats without fear of legal repercussions.

Car seats and booster seats which met CMVS standards prior to January 2012, are not recalled, expired or damaged should be deemed safe for a child to use, even if it is not the same family using it as of January 2012.

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The Allow Safe Second Hand Car Seats petition to Ms Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health was written by Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada and is in the category Children's Rights at GoPetition.