Fastening your seatbelt while operating a vehicle or as a passenger can be the difference between life and suffering serious injuries - or even death.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and law enforcement across the province will be ensuring Saskatchewanians know about the importance of seatbelt safety during their month-long feature on occupant safety. Police in Saskatchewan will be paying close attention to drivers/passengers not properly buckled up during February.

According to the latest statistics from SGI, wearing your seatbelt decreases the chance of serious injury or death by up to 50 per cent. In fact, single vehicle collisions such as rollovers can be fatal when occupants are not using their seatbelts. In 2015, a total of 17 deaths and 194 injuries were reported in the province due to passengers not wearing their seatbelts or using them improperly. In addition, 18 per cent of all traffic fatalities included the person not wearing their seatbelt were killed in the collision.

Another main concern police will be looking for this month is the proper use of car seats for children in vehicles. Out of the 194 injuries from 2015, 73 were children under the age of seven. Children under seven in Saskatchewan must use booster seats when riding in a motor vehicle. This is recommended for youth under 89 lbs and 4’9”.

SGI offers car seat clinics from May to September demonstrating to parents and guardians about the importance of car seats for their children. These free clinics run throughout the province, and offer education on proper installation of car seat and helping parents determine which seat is appropriate for their children.

Below are a few tips courtesy from SGI for seatbelt safety:

  • Buckle up - every person, every time you get into a vehicle.
  • Ensure harness straps lay flat (untwisted) and only one of your fingers fit between the straps and child.
  • Keep your child in their current seat until they reach the maximum weight according to the seat's manufacturer. Don't rush into the next size.
  • Put blankets and heavy coats over the straps — too much bulk under the straps means the seat can't work like its designed and crash-tested to work.
  • Make sure the seatbelt fits securely across the middle of the shoulder and across the hips.
  • Get the right fit. Visit an SGI car seat clinic or book an appointment with a car seat technician in your community.