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Should your kid still be using a booster seat in the car?

In this file photo, seven-year-old Rachel Middleton climbs into her booster seat.

AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gabriel B. Tait

A new poll finds most Canadian parents support green-lighting a booster seat law - but few are putting their words into action.

A survey from Safe Kids Canada and Leger Marketing indicates most parents of kids under age 10 feel a booster seat is needed until a child can use a seat belt on their own.

The online poll of more than 1,000 adults found that 79 per cent of households support the idea of a booster seat law.

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Yet according to Transport Canada, only 30 per cent of Canadian children who should be using booster seats are actually doing so.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for Canadian kids under 14.

Transport Canada says 3,500 children are injured each year, and on average another 61 children are killed.

Safe Kids Canada says a booster seat reduces the risk of injury by 60 per cent. Kids need to ride in them from the time they outgrow their forward-facing car seats until they are big enough to use a seat belt by itself.

When a child is too small for a seat belt, it cuts across their neck and rides up the abdomen, which can potentially lead to life-threatening injuries to the neck, spine and internal organs if the vehicle is in a crash. The specialized seat is able to better protect the child by positioning the seat belt away from the neck and abdominal area.

Among Canadian jurisdictions, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut do not have mandatory booster seat legislation for children under four feet nine inches, or 146 centimetres, in height.

Safe Kids Canada is advocating for booster seat legislation applying to all children that fall under that height marker regardless of where they live across the country.

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The survey findings were released as part of the national Safe Kids Week campaign, which aims to raise awareness about a specific type of injury and educate the public on prevention strategies.

The theme for this year's week, dubbed "Give your kid a boost!" is child passenger safety. It will run from May 30 to June 5.

Safe Kids Canada is the national injury prevention program of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

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