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How to choose a child car seat

Last update: Sep. 2, 2015, at 2:07 pm

Baby has arrived! The first step is an infant carrier to accommodate your little one for most of their first year (unless you opt for a 3-in-1 car seat).


What you need to know is that car seats don’t all have the same weight limit. Unless mum or dad wants to use the carrier for weight training, it’s better to avoid large carriers that hold children up to 30 pounds.

Safety first and foremost

Did you know that one in two children (51.3%) is not safe in a vehicle because their seat is not installed or operated correctly?

A seat that meets safety standards

The rule of thumb is to buy a seat with the Transport Canada compliance label on it. It is illegal to use a car seat purchased outside Canada because other countries’ safety standards are different. Shopping around is important—you’ll use your car seat for a number of years. If you find problems, you’ll have to live with them for a long time, and buckling your child in will become an ordeal.

How to buckle your child in properly

To find out whether your child is buckled in correctly and whether your seat is properly adjusted, visit the SAAQ website and consult the Secure Them for Life (PDF) brochure, which describes the stage for each age.

3-in-1 or 2-in-1 model?

In Phase 1 the seat will face the rear of the vehicle. Children are always safer in rear-facing seats as long as they have not exceeded the corresponding weight and size limits. During Phase 2 the seat faces forward (usually when baby has begun to walk). Phase 3 is the booster seat stage (around age 4).

Which is best? That depends on your needs and your budget. It is sometimes more cost-effective to purchase a 2-in-1 convertible car seat and then a booster seat later on. Crunch the numbers based on your criteria. Try them out in-store and pay special attention to the adjustment system if you don’t want to fight with straps and exhaust yourself each time you go for a car ride.

In conclusion

Whichever seat you choose, it is essential that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in terms of weight and proper installation. Feel free to have your child’s car seat checked by a qualified individual (some dealerships, garages and police stations offer this service) and test your knowledge!


Other topics of interest:

Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. in Quebec and to Certas Direct Insurance Company in Ontario and Alberta. Certain restrictions, exclusions and limitations may apply.

Ajusto is available from Desjardins Insurance. ® Ajusto is a registered trademark of Desjardins General Insurance Inc., used with permission by Certas Direct Insurance Company. The discount does not apply to certain endorsements and additional coverages. It will be automatically applied to the premium at the time of renewal. Ajusto is only available in Ontario and Quebec.

All information is provided for information purposes only, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for it. We recommend using caution and consulting a property and casualty insurance agent for comprehensive, personalized advice.

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