Study shows two-in-five Canadian parents may be overdressing their children in car seats

With cold weather comes bulky clothing, and while this may be a great way to keep kids warm in the winter, it can be dangerous when a child is strapped in a car seat. While the vast majority—95 per cent—of Canadian parents state that they are confident they know how to properly buckle a child in a car seat, many may actually be overdressing their children, according to new poll findings from Allstate Insurance Company of Canada.

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When asked what they thought was the best way to keep a child warm while in their car seat during the winter months, 41 per cent of parents with children at home said a snowsuit or a winter coat. But bulky clothes inhibit the harness from being properly tightened, in the event of a sudden stop, a child can be propelled forward suddenly, causing a bulky jacket or snowsuit to compress. When this happens, it results in slack in their restraints and can cause the child to be ejected from the car seat, which can result in serious injury or death.

“These poll findings suggest a large knowledge gap, and we want parents to understand that the key to protecting your child is to dress them appropriately for their car seat, not the weather outside,” says Jason Foroglou, Certified Car Seat Safety Technician and Agency Manager, Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. “Safety for Canadians is a priority for Allstate Canada, which is why we partnered with Safety 1st Canada— to help educate and spread awareness on this important issue.”

“We’re concerned to learn that so many Canadian parents feel winter jackets and snowsuits are the best attire to be worn, since they’re not the safest options for keeping kids secure while in their car seats,” says Mimi Brandspigel, senior product manager for car seats of Dorel Juvenile Canada, makers of Safety 1st products. “This kind of winter wear tends to be big and puffy, great for keeping kids warm—but not very effective at keeping them securely strapped into their car seats.”

Safety 1st recommends dressing children in warm, thin layers to allow the car seat straps to lay flat and snugly against a child’s body. Yet, while this is the recommended approach to better ensure car seat safety, only one-in-10 (10 per cent) parents feel that layers are the best way to keep a child warm in their car seat in the winter months.

Options for ensuring a child remains safe and comfortable while in a car seat include:

  • Outfitting a child in warm, thin layers, along with a hat, mitts and boots
  • Warming up the car before loading up the family
  • Placing a blanket over a car seat after the child is properly strapped in
  • Using a child’s coat as a blanket with their arms in the sleeves

Allstate Canada has prepared a blog article, video, and infographic to help Canadians identify the best way to keep their children safe and secure this winter.

For more details about car seat safety, visit Allstate Canada’s GOOD HANDS® blog at goodhandsadvice.ca.

About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada:
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is one of the country’s leading producers and distributors of home and auto insurance products, including usage-based insurance, serving Canadians since 1953. The company strives to keep its customers in “Good Hands®” as well as its employees, and has been listed as a Best Employer in Canada for three years in a row. Allstate Canada is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates and has partnered with organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), United Way, and Junior Achievement. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit www.allstate.ca. For more safety tips and advice, visit goodhandsadvice.ca.

About Dorel Industries Inc
Dorel Industries Inc. (TSX:DII.B)(TSX:DII.A) is a world class juvenile products, home furnishings, and bicycle company. The Company’s safety and lifestyle leadership is pronounced in both its Juvenile and Bicycle categories with an array of trend-setting, innovative products. Dorel Juvenile’s powerfully branded products include global juvenile brands Safety 1st, Quinny, Maxi-Cosi and Tiny Love, complemented by regional brands such as Cosco, Bébé Confort and Infanti. Dorel Industries Inc. has annual sales of US$2.7 billion and employs approximately 10,450 people in facilities located in twenty-five countries worldwide.

About the Study:
Leger conducted a quantitative online survey of 1,530 Canadians. The fieldwork was completed between July 18 and July 21, 2016, using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

SOURCE Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

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Changing climate is raising forest fire risk

By Bruce Cheadle

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ A new government report says that by the end of this century a changing climate is expected to at least double the area burned each year by forest fires in Canada.

The 2015 annual forest assessment by Natural Resources Canada says a warming climate will contribute to a 50 per cent increase in large fires, new tree diseases and more insect infestations.

“Climate change is gradually imposing an increasing trend on forest fires, a trend that is partially masked by the large variability of this disturbance,” says the report.

The study builds on a body of scientific evidence that became politically charged last May when a massive wildfire forced the evacuation of the northern Alberta oilsands hub, Fort McMurray.

The Fort McMurray fire ended up covering almost 590,00 hectares of boreal forest and is expected to total more than $3.5 billion in insured losses, the largest such insurance loss in Canadian history.

Scientists say it is difficult to link any single natural disaster, such as a flood or fire, to man-made global warming, but that the frequency and intensity of such events has been increasing and is likely to continue, especially in a northern latitude country like Canada.

“The State of Canada’s Forests” report, released last week, notes that even if international efforts are successful in limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, that increase translates into a four-degree Celsius increase for Canada.

Steve Taylor, a Victoria-based research scientist at NRCan’s Pacific Forestry Centre, said in an interview that it is now “well accepted” in the small scientific community that studies forest fires that a warming climate will lead to more fire activity, but with great regional variations and differing impacts depending on fire management.

A warming climate needs to combine with changes in rainfall, ignition sources and high winds to create conditions for the really big fires.

“The tricky thing is, we’re looking at extreme events,” said Taylor.

Wildfires of “Fort McMurray proportions,” he said, have happened perhaps 40 times over the past 30 years but that’s out of some 150,000 forest fires during the same period.

“A common analogy is you’re rolling dice,” said the research scientist.

“There is some background frequency of which a six will come up. But if you load the dice like you might be doing with climate change you have to (roll) it many, many times to see if you get sixes more often.”

The 2015 assessment found that a total of 7,068 forest fires burned about 3.9 million hectares. The number of fires was slightly above the 10-year average, but the area burned was 50 per cent higher. Forest fires forced the evacuation of 125 communities affecting about 15,000 people in 2015.

Saskatchewan saw fires burn three times its 10-year provincial average area and Alberta had more than twice its 10-year average. In Quebec, meanwhile, the area burned in 2015 was less than two per cent of its 10-year average.

“We don’t want to say necessarily the sky is falling, but it should motivate some concern and activity,” Taylor said of the latest forest report.

“We’re in the fortunate position of being able to look ahead and think about how to better prepare over the coming decades to reduce the impacts.”

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Be warned: Tricky insurance for ride-share drivers

By Evelyn Harford | Ottawa Metro

Uber will be legal in Ottawa at the end of the month, but personal injury lawyers warn that some insurance available for the ride-sharing drivers is tricky.

Ottawa city councillors voted to legalize Uber under a new licensing category in April. The new category will require drivers, among other things, to have minimum insurance coverage – a minimum of $5 million commercial liability and $2 million general liability insurance.

And as long as a ride-sharing driver complies with the insurance the city is asking for, as well as other requirements such as background check, they can legally drive for Uber once the bylaw comes into effect on Sept. 30, said Anthony Di Monte, the city’s general manager of emergency and protective services.

But he said it’s up to individual drivers, and Uber, to ensure that they’re properly covered for ride-sharing activities in the event of an accident.

“Understand your policy,” said Jaime Wilson, a personal injury lawyer at McNally Gervan Lawyers. “If there is an accident and you’re not properly insured there can be ramifications that can affect you.”

Personal injury lawyers warn that being properly insured can be tricky business for any ride-sharing driver.

Only two insurance companies have been approved by the (FSCO) Financial Services Commission of Ontario to offer insurance policies specifically for ride-sharing drivers.

One policy, offered through Aviva Canada, is added to a driver’s existing car insurance policy but limits them to 20 hours of ride-share driving per week; FSCO said this policy was intended for part-time drivers.

The second, approved by the FSCO this July, is offered through Intact through a partnership with Uber and will cover the driver from the moment their app is turned on until the moment the passengers exits the vehicle, with no limitation on hours of driving. Intact said Uber drivers are automatically covered when operating the apps and the first of it’s kind in Canada.

However, FSCO warns that drivers who engage in ride sharing need to inform their insurance brokers or personal car insurance company that they’re carrying passengers for the purpose of ride-sharing because they said, “insurers are not required to (ensure) ridesharing activities and may cancel or not agree to renew a policy whether or not they’re informed.”

You may think you’re covered until you’re not.

Coun. Scott Moffatt said would-be drivers need to be aware of what coverage they have, because like anybody who gets in an accident without proper coverage, “You’ll be screwed.”

Before stepping into the driver’s seat and carting passengers around as ride-share driver, lawyers and insurance brokers alike say would-be drivers need to do their homework to avoid legal headaches in the event of an accident.

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