Message from McLeod's Community Safety Director

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November Safety Message

For November 2019, Alberta Traffic Safety Calendar's primary focus is occupant restraints.


The correct use of seat belts, child car seats and booster seats is one of the most important and easiest ways of reducing death and injury from vehicle collisions. One of the offenses I see commonly is drivers wearing shoulder belt under their left arm. With the shoulder belt under your arm your upper body will not be held back in a collision. The fine amount is the same as not wearing your seat belt at $155.00 under the Alberta Vehicle Equipment Regulations.  


Car Seats- I am a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and I want to provide you with some guidelines on how to properly install and use car seats.

Rear Facing

Before you install a rear facing car seat you need to do the following:

• If the seat is not purchased new, check and ensure it is not expired. On the back of the seat there should be a manufacture and expiry date. Do not use a car seat that is expired or been in a collision.

• Read the manual for the car seat on how to install. If you cannot locate it you can search for the manual online.

• Read your vehicle's manual to find out which locations can be used to install the car seat.

• Rear Facing the harness must be at or below the shoulders of the child.

• Check the tightness of the car seat harness near the child's chest and shoulders once buckled. Attempt to pinch the webbing of the harness with your thumb and forefinger. If you can hold onto a horizontal fold of the harness it is too loose. Tighten it further. Do not over tighten.

• Chest Clip should be placed at armpit level.

• Harness Straps have to be flat.

• Your child should wear thin, warm layers of clothing. After the harness system is fastened properly then blankets may be put on top. Bulky clothing may interfere with the harness straps.

• Rear Facing Seats are outgrown when weight limit or height limit has met the maximum of the seat. Some rear facing seats have a “fit requirement” which is the how close the top of the head is to the top of the car seat reference point. Normally, it is 1” (2.54 cms). You can find this information in your car seat manual. If it is less than the distance set in the seat’s manual, then the seat is outgrown.

• Not every car seat fits well with every vehicle. Different approved locations in the vehicle work better than others.

• It is a myth that if your child appears to run out of leg room that the child's legs will break in a crash. Rear face as long as possible to the limits of the seat.

Forward Facing Car Seats

Before you install a forward-facing car seat you need to do the following:

• If the seat is not purchased new, check and ensure it is not expired. On the back of the seat there should be a manufacture and expiry date. Do not use a car seat that is expired or been in a collision.

• Read the manual for the car seat on how to install. If you cannot locate it you can search for the manual online.

• Read your vehicle's manual to find out which locations can be used to install the car seat.

• In Canada all forward facing harnessed seats must be tethered. The tether reduces the amount of a child's head can move forward in a crash.

• Tethers must be connected to the designated tether anchor for the seating position being used. Do not use cargo hook or other vehicle components for tether anchors.

• Harness Straps must sit just above or at the child's shoulders.

• Tips of the child's ears must be below the top of the shell (unless otherwise indicated in the car seat manual).

• Check the tightness of the car seat harness near the child's chest and shoulders once buckled. Attempt to pinch the webbing of the harness with your thumb and forefinger. If you can hold onto a horizontal fold of the harness it is too loose. Tighten it further. Do not over tighten.

• Chest Clip should be placed at armpit level.

• Child's bum should be at the back of the seat.

• Harness Straps have to be flat.

• Your child should wear thin, warm layers of clothing. After the harness system is fastened properly then blankets may be put on top. Bulky clothing may interfere with the harness straps.

• Rear Facing Seats are outgrown when weight limit or height limit has met the maximum of the seat. Some rear facing seats have a “fit requirement” which is if the top of ears become level with the car seat reference point or/and the shoulder's creeping above the top harness position then the seat has become outgrown.

Booster Seats

Before you install a forward-facing car seat you need to do the following:

• If the seat is not purchased new, check and ensure it is not expired. On the back of the seat there should be a manufacture and expiry date. Do not use a car seat that is expired or been in a collision.

• Read the manual for the car seat on how to install it properly. If you cannot locate it you can search for the manual online.

• Read your vehicle's manual to find out which locations can be used to install the car seat.

• Ensure the should belt is centered over the collarbone and touching the chest, not on face or neck, not slipping off shoulder, not floating off chest.

• Lap belt should sit low on child's hips and touching thighs. It should not be far down on the thighs and should not be riding up on the belly.

• Booster seat is outgrown when Weight or Height limit has been met, fit requirement when the child's ears are above the shell of the seat or the vehicle head restraint or belt fit becomes poor.

Adult Seat Belt

A person may safely ride in a lap/shoulder belt when all FIVE conditions of the Five-Step Test are satisfied.

1. Back must be able to fully rest against the vehicle seat back.

2. Knees bend comfortable at the edge of the vehicle seat with feet touching the floor.

3. Should Belt makes contact with chest and is centered at the collarbone.

4. Lap Belt must sit low across the upper thighs and make contact with the hip bones.

5. Person must remain seated in position as described in steps 1-4 for the entire ride.


Impaired Driving

This time of year is when workplaces start having their Christmas parties for their staff. Most parties have alcohol being offered to their staff. If you’re going to drink or use cannabis please don't drive. Here are some tips if you choose to have one drink and drive afterwards.

• Eat food to help balance alcohol consumption.

• Don't mix alcohol with prescribed medications.

• Drink water before and after having a drink.

• After having a drink, wait a minimum of one hour before driving.

If you plan on consuming multiple drinks I ask you to please plan ahead. Have a designated sober driver, call a taxi, take public transit or call one of these companies listed below that can take you and your vehicle home.

Alberta Designated Drivers 

780-616-7140

Dedicated Designated Drivers

780-819-8175

Reliable Ride Designated Driving Service

780-633-1610

Drive Smart Designated Drivers

780-544-9292

I loved the Edmonton Police education campaign of "store your skunk (Cannabis) in the trunk." This also goes for alcohol.


Vehicle Safety

While warming up your vehicle only use remote starters. Do not leave keys in the ignition. Do not leave children unattended at any time in a vehicle. If you observe a child left unattended in a vehicle, please call the police at 911. Please do not leave until police or the parents arrive. Do not engage the parents.

While away from your vehicle doing your shopping if you need to leave bags or packages ensure you leave them out of sight. This also applies to loose change, garage door openers, wallets or purses. Ensure your vehicle is locked at all times.


Winter Driving

I recommend getting an app on your cell phone and keeping up to date on the weather conditions. This will help you to plan ahead. When the weather takes a turn for the worse here is some tips to help keep you safe on the road.

• Slow Down. The speed limit listed is for ideal conditions.

• Give yourself extra space between vehicles.

• Slow down approaching icy intersections.

• Avoid spinning when attempting to accelerate from a intersection when the light goes green. This creates ice.

• Do not use cruise control in winter conditions.

• Signal Well in advance before turning.

• Turn on your headlights and ensure your taillights are on.

• Unless travel is necessary during storms please stay off the roads.


Home Safety

When you leave or go to bed ensure all your doors and windows are locked. Ensure your vehicle doors are locked. If you have a security system ensure it is armed. After Christmas is over avoid placing high-ticket boxes or store bags out on the curb that are visible to everyone. Take larger boxes to the recycle depot and place store bags and wrapping paper in black garbage bags before putting in blue or clear recycle bags. Do not place presents under a Christmas Tree that can be easily viewed from the outside of your home. Be cautious with candles. Do not leave them unattended.


Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! Be safe!!!


If you have any questions, please contact me at safety@mcleodcl.ca.

Ryan Bendara
Community Safety Director