Basic Car Seat Safety
Car crashes are the number one cause of death for Canadian children under 13. When properly installed, car seats can significantly decrease the chances of a child being hurt or killed in the event of a collision.
Make sure your child is safe when in a car with these basic car seat tips:
• Infant car seats should be rear-facing in the back seat and rest at a 45° degree angle.
• A seatbelt or Universal Anchorage System strap should be routed through the car seat. The seat should not be able to move more than 2.5 cm.
• The shoulder harness should sit below the baby’s shoulders and the chest clip should lay flat and be at armpit level. You should not be able to fit more than one finger under the harness straps at the collarbone.
• Your baby should be in a rear-facing car seat until he weighs at least nine kilograms, but it is best to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible within compliance regulations from your car seat manufacturer.
• A child should only be placed in a forward facing seat when they weigh at least nine kilograms.
• Visit your car dealership to have a tether anchor installed if your vehicle does not have one. You must use the tether to prevent the seat from moving.
• Once you fasten the tether strap, you should use your body weight to tighten the seatbelt or Universal Anchorage System strap.
• Shoulder straps should be above the child’s shoulders, and you should only be able to fit one finger width between the strap and child’s chest.
• Your toddler should be in a forward facing seat until they no longer comply with the height and weight regulations from your car seat manufacturer.
• By law, a child must be in a booster seat if they have outgrown the forward facing car seat’s maximum weight or height limits.
• Regulations for booster seats are: the child must be under eight years old, weigh more than 18 kilograms but less than 36 kilograms, and are less than 145 cm tall.
• A lap and shoulder seatbelt must be used with every booster seat.
• Your child’s head should be supported by the seat or headrest.
Always refer to your car’s manual and the manual provided by the manufacturer of your car seat when installing any car seat.
Consider getting a professional to install your car seat. It may look easy to do, but it is imperative that they are installed properly in order for your child to be safe.
For more information and Canada’s car seat regulations visit www.tc.gc.ca.