Here’s CAA’s guide to securing your child in a vehicle:
Newborn babies and infants require extra special protection. In a collision, properly installed rear-facing car seats can save your child’s life.
Infant car seats should face the back of the vehicle, rest on a 45-degree angle and move no more than 2.5 cm (1 in.) side-to-side or forward at the base. If necessary, use a towel or a foam bar (pool noodle) under the base of the child car seat to adjust the angle.
Harness straps should be slotted at or below a baby’s shoulders. You should not be able to fit more than one finger underneath the harness straps at the child’s collarbone. The chest clip should be flat against the chest at armpit level.
By law, a child can ride facing forward when they are over 9 kg (20 lb.) or more. All forward-facing car seats must use a tether strap. If your vehicle does not have a tether anchor in place, contact a dealership to have one installed.
To prevent the car seat from moving forward and causing injury in a collision, it is important to use the tether strap exactly as the manufacturer recommends. To install a forward-facing car seat, fasten the tether strap, and then use your body weight to tighten and fasten the seatbelt or Universal Anchorage System (UAS).
Pre-school to 8 years old.
Booster seats are required for children under the age of eight, weighing 18 kg or more but less than 36 kg (40-80 lbs) and who stand less than 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall.
A child can start using a seatbelt alone once any one of the following criteria is met:
- Child turns eight years old
- Child weighs 36 kg (80 lbs.)
- Child is 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall
Seatbelts are designed for adults and older, larger children. Once your child can sit all the way against the vehicle seat back with legs bent comfortably over the edge of the seat, and with the shoulder belt flat across the shoulder and chest, he or she is ready to move from the booster seat to the vehicle seatbelt.
Make sure the shoulder strap lies across the child’s shoulder and the middle of the chest (not the neck or face), and the lap belt crosses over the hips (not the stomach).
- Use the right seat for the child’s weight and development. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for correct child car seat installation and use.
- Be sure to secure the child correctly. Make sure harness straps are snug and tight. Use a tether strap with a forward-facing child car seat. Keep children away from all active air bags. Children under 13 years of age are safest in the back seat.
- Use caution when buying or using a pre-owned child car seat. Buy new, or from someone you know, and check it carefully. Make sure the car seat has:
- Instructions and all necessary hardware
- Not been in a collision
- A Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) sticker
- Not expired or is not older than 10 years
- No discoloured (stress) marks or cracks and the harness is not worn or torn