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Car Seat Safety
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What do I need to know when buying a car seat?

Always look for this label

Always look for this label
(Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards)

  • check the return policy before buying. This lets you check that the car seat is the right fit for your child and for your vehicle
  • buy your car seat in Canada, it is against the law here to use a foreign made car seat (unless you are a visitor, e.g. from the USA)
  • send in your registration card or register online, defect notices or recalls will then be sent to you

Can I use a second-hand car seat?

Second hand car seats can be a risky choice. It is important to know and trust the previous owner to get a true history of the seat. Be sure that:

  • it is not expired
  • it has never been in a collision, even a minor one
  • the straps are in good shape, not frayed or damaged
  • the plastic does not have any cracks or stress marks on it
  • it has the instruction manual with it, and tether (if required)
  • you have checked Transport Canada notices for any defects or recalls

Can snowsuits and bunting bags be safely used with a car seat?

child under blanket
  • no they cannot be safely used. Snowsuits and bunting bags are bulky, in the force of a collision they can flatten. The child can then become loose in the harness straps and fly out of the seat.
  • harness your child in properly and place a blanket over them to keep them warm

How do I know when to move my child to the next car seat?

  • the law is a minimum requirement
  • wait until your child reaches the upper weight or height limit of your seat before moving to the next seat. This keeps them as safe as possible.
  • always follow your car seat manufacturer’s guidelines for weight and height

car seat stages chart

Source: Transport Canada

When will my child be ready to use a seat belt?

Legally your child must ride in a booster seat until they are at least:

  • 4 feet 9 inches (145 cm) tall, or
  • 80 pounds (36 kg), or
  • 8 years old.

This is a minimum requirement.

  • Best practice is to keep your child in a booster seat until they reach 4’9”, and weigh at least 80 lbs, usually between 8 and 12 years old.
  • It is best to keep your child in a booster seat until they reach the manufacturer’s height or weight limits.
  • Some booster seats are made for children that weigh up to 45 kg (100 lb.). 

A booster seat raises your child up so the seat belt fits properly, preventing injuries.

Take the Seat Belt Readiness Test!

Seatbelt Readiness Test!
  1. When my child is sitting and their back is up against the seat, do my child's knees bend easily over the edge of the seat?
  2. a) Yes
    b) No

  3. Does the shoulder belt sit over my child’s shoulder crossing the middle of their chest, without touching their neck or face?
  4. a) Yes
    b) No

  5. Does the lap belt sit low across my child’s hips, NOT over the abdomen?

    a) Yes
    b) No

    Your child is not ready yet. All three conditions must be met for a   child to be safe while wearing a seat belt.

    checkmarkYes, your child is ready!

Right / Wrong
Right                Wrong

Are tether straps always necessary?

  • Yes, for forward facing seats the tether strap must be attached to the tether anchor in the vehicle; this decreases the forward head movement in a sudden stop or crash.
  • If your vehicle does not have a tether anchor, contact the vehicle manufacturer to have one installed.
  • Check your vehicle manual to find the location of the tether anchor and the recommended path for the tether strap (e.g. under or over the head rest/restraint of the car).
car seat anchor icon