Child Safety: How to Choose a Car Seat
It’s deciding which type of seat to get that’s the difficult part. With factors to consider such as height, weight and development, it can make picking the right seat overwhelming. Help ease the worry and read our guide on how to choose a car seat for your precious cargo.
Depending on where you live in Canada, each province and territory can have their regulations on child car seats. Research your province or territory’s guidelines beforehand. When buying a seat, look for the National Safety Mark attached to the seat. This provides proof that the child car seat complies with Canadian safety standards.
Stage 1: Rear-facing
Starting at birth, newborns are required to sit in a rear-facing seat to help protect their delicate bodies in the event of a sudden stop or collision. Most car seats will have a recommended recline angle based on the weight of your child. Keep the infant car seat until they have outgrown the height and weight requirements.
Stage 2: Forward-facing
Transport Canada recommends children who have outgrown their rear-facing seat and weight at least 10 kg (22 lb) may ride facing the front in a child car seat. Forward-facing car seats have a tether strap to help prevent the seat from moving and keep your child safe during the drive. The strap can usually be adjusted throughout your child’s growth.
Stage 3: Booster Seats
When your child has outgrown the forward-facing seat and weighs at least 18 kg (40 lb), it’s time for a booster seat. A booster seat can help provide a more comfortable ride for your child as they get to sit, higher up against the seatback with their knees placed over the edge of the booster. Be sure to use a lap belt or shoulder belt that fits tight across their hip with the booster seat. Approximately, children from four-years-old to eight-years-old use a booster seat.
Stage 4: Seatbelts
Wearing a seatbelt in the car is an essential safety feature to help keep you and your growing child secure and safe. Although before you start the transition, make sure the seat belt will fit your child and double check the age, weight and height regulations for your province and territory.
For instance, in Ontario, the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) lets a child use a seatbelt under the following conditions:
- The child turns eight-years-old, or
- The child weighs 36 kg (80 lb.), or
- The child is 145 cm (4 ft. 9 in.) tall or more
Reminder: All drivers are responsible for ensuring that passengers under 16 are secured properly.
Be sure to follow the car seat manufacturer’s specifications for your child to be secure. Want to learn how to properly install a child car seat? Read our How to Install a Car Seat Correctly post to help keep the little one safe.