Is My Car Seat Or Booster Seat Safe To Use
- Check that your seat is approved for use in Canada. Look for the National Safety Mark on your car seat or booster seat:
- Read the labels and instructions to make sure that your child is within the age, weight, and height limits for the seat.
- Most manufacturers recommend that you replace a car seat that has been in a car crash, even a minor one. Contact your manufacturer if you are unsure.
- If you do not know the history of the seat, it may no longer be safe to use. Make sure you have all the parts, including the instruction manual.
- All car seats expire. Plastic and metal parts wear out over time. Contact the manufacturer if you are unsure when your seat expires.
- Check Transport Canadas website to see if your seat has been recalled.
- Register your childs seat with the manufacturer. They will contact you if there is a recall.
Car Seat Stages And Ages: The Safest & All
You cannot keep your little one safe in the car seat unless it completely fits them.
Of course, you will be more worried if you’re a brand-new parent, as you need to know the rulers and safety standards regarding all car seats, their benefits, and the appropriate options.
Of course, you can always find a Child Passenger Safety Technician to help you and guide you adequately through the searching and later installation process.
However, the rules might vary from state to state, so that you can find numerous car safety laws and regulations concerning children’s safety here.
And below, you can find everything you need to know regarding child passenger safety seats, the stages of car seat, and how to install & use them properly.
When To Change The Earliest From A Toddler Car Seat To A Booster Seat
We at BeSafe advise you to keep your child rear facing for as long as possible or at least until the age of four. Therefore, we recommend you to move your child to a booster seat only when all three of the following conditions are met:
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Checking The Fit Of The Booster Seat
Even if a booster seat meets Canadian regulations, the seat you choose needs to fit your child, and your vehicle. A booster seat that fits will better protect your child during a sudden stop or a crash.
The lap belt must fit snuggly on the hips. This will help the seat belt bring your child to a stop during a sudden stop or crash and helps protect your child from injuries.
The shoulder belt should sit in the middle of your childs shoulder because:
- this is most comfortable for your child
- this makes it less likely for your child to wiggle out of the belt or put it behind him or her
- this makes the belt less likely to slip off your childs shoulder during a sudden stop or crash
Try the booster seat in your vehicle before you buy it, if possible. Otherwise, ensure that the seat can be returned if it does not fit your child and your vehicle.
Check provincial or territorial regulations to make sure that your child meets the age, height and or weight requirements for a booster seat.
When To Change The Latest From An Infant Carrier To The Toddler Seat
Step 1: Check the weight/height limitation of your seat
If your infant carrier is approved to ECE R44-04, then your seat has a maximum weight based on its approval. This maximum weight must not be exceeded. But this does not mean that you can always use your infant carrier until you have reached this maximum weight, often babies outgrow their seat in height before they reach the weight. For this, check step 2!
If your infant carrier is approved to UN R129, then it has a maximum height given by its approval. This maximum height must not be exceeded. In most cases, the maximum height marks the end of when you can use the seat, but in addition, also check step 2!
Step 2: Check the shoulder belts and distance to the top of the seat
When the uppermost point of the babys head is approx. 2 fingers away from the highest point of the seat shell, you should change to a toddler seat. Ideally, you should look for toddler seats already some time before your baby has reached this point. This 2-finger-distance is recommended since it includes a buffer for upwards movement in case of an accident. Such a movement can happen if the belts are not perfectly tightened. Even though we know that parents do their best to always tighten the belts correctly, it can happen when in a rush or if the baby moves a lot that the belts are not as tight as they should be.
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The Car Seat Has Been Recalled
Recalled seats have defects that have been determined to be unsafe, so if your seat is affected by a recall, stop using it right away and follow the manufacturers instructions for repairing or replacing the seat. You can find the latest recalls at NHTSA.gov/recalls, or sign up for recall alerts on your phone.
How Do You Install A Booster Seat
A booster seat is typically held in place by the child’s weight and the vehicle’s lap-and-shoulder belt. Some seats do use your car’s lower anchors and LATCH system like a car seat. It’s important to read the booster seat instruction manual before installing your child’s booster seat. Your car’s instruction manual can also help you determine how to properly and safely install the seat. If your car doesn’t have headrests, you should use a high-back booster seat.
Here are some important tips to follow when you install your child’s booster seat:
- Always place the booster seat in the back seat.
- Always use a lap and shoulder seat belt with the booster seat.
- Place the booster seat flat on the vehicle seat.
- Have your child sit in the booster seat and pull the seat belt across your child’s body to make sure the belt fits properly. The seat belt should rest low on the hips, not across the stomach. Across the chest, the belt should lie firmly in the middle of the child’s shoulder.
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Car Seat Safety Guidelines
- Children must be secured in the appropriate car or booster seat.
- Birth to two years old: All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are two years old, or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their safety seat’s manufacturer.
- Over two years old: Any child two or older who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for a car seat, should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer. This also applies to any child younger than two years who has outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit of their seat.
- Ages four to eight years old: Children whose weight or height exceeds the limit for a forward-facing car seat should switch to a belt-positioning booster seat. These children should remain in a booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits properly, typically when they reach four feet and nine inches in height and are between eight and 12 years of age.
- Check car seat labels for exceptions and additional guidance.
- For additional guidance on finding and installing car seats, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Learn more about Texas car seat laws.
Baby Or Child Car Seat Fitting
- It is dangerous and illegal to carry a baby in a rear-facing baby seat in a front passenger seat that has an active airbag. Forward-facing seats in the same position, while not illegal, are not ideal. It’s always safer for children to travel in the back of the car.
- Make sure the seat is fitted properly in the car, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Look out for safety days where experts demonstrate how to fit baby and child car seats safely. These often take place in supermarket or shopping mall car parks.
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How Long Should My Child Remain In A Forward
Once your child has graduated to a forward-facing car seat, its recommended they remain in it until they reach the height and weight limit of their seat. This can be quite some time as forward-facing car seats can hold anywhere from 60 to 100 pounds depending on the model!
Its important to also keep in mind that even after your child has outgrown their forward-facing car seat, they should still use a booster seat to ensure your cars seat belt system fits them properly.
Children arent ready to use the seatbelt alone until theyre around
Buckling Up Your Child
A booster seat helps children sit comfortably by raising them so they can sit up against the seat back with their knees bent over the edge of the booster or vehicle seat.
If your child can sit up straight with his or her back against the seat back and his or her knees bent over the edge of the booster, move on to check the fit of the seat belt.
- If your child cannot do this, choose another booster seat
A booster seat that fits needs to guide and keep the lap and shoulder belt in place across your childs hips, chest and shoulders.
The seat belt guides help you adjust the belt for better fit, and help keep the belt in place. Follow the instructions in the booster seats manual and the seats labels for threading the belt through the guides.
The lap belt must fit snuggly on the hips. This will help the seat belt bring your child to a stop during a sudden stop or crash and protect your child from injuries.
- If the lap belt does not sit flat on the hips, choose another booster seat
The shoulder belt should sit in the middle of your childs shoulder. This is most comfortable, and makes it less likely for children to wiggle out of a belt or put it behind them. It also makes the belt less likely to slip off the shoulder during a crash.
- If the shoulder belt does not cross the middle of the shoulder try to adjust the shoulder belt guide
- If this does not help, choose another booster seat
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I Thought My Child Could Turn Forward
This is NOT correct. Many years ago, in the days before the iPhone was invented, the minimum to turn forward facing was 1 year and 20 pounds.
In 2011 both the AAP and NHTSA updated their recommendations to reflect the latest research in child passenger safety. The AAP now recommends that kids sit rear-facing until at least age 2 and for longer if possible. NHTSA now recommends: Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seats manufacturer.
When Can A Child Stop Using A Booster Seat
Texas law requires that all children use a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4 feet, 9 inches tall. Even if your child is 8 and it is legal for them to stop using a booster seat, if they are under 4 feet 9 inches tall, you should continue to use a booster seat to keep your child safe. When your child reaches the height requirement, the seat belt will fit them safely and comfortably.
Children should always travel in the back seat of the car, never the front, until they are 13 years old. They should always have the seat belt on their chest, never around their back. The lap belt should rest against their hips, and the shoulder belt should rest in the middle of their shoulder. If it doesn’t, you should keep using the booster seat.
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How Do You Know When Its Time To Switch
You may need to switch even if your child has not reached the maximum weight. For optimum safety, youll need to move up to the next car seat stage when the top of your babys head comes up over the seat back. Tip: put your hand on the top of the back-seat, does the top of your babys head touch your hand? Time to move up to a new car seat!
Dont be tempted to switch to a forward-facing car seat too soon. At Maxi-Cosi, we recommend that your child continues to travel in a safe rearward-facing position for as long as possible or at least up to 15 months.
What Type Of Car Seat Should A 4
Your 4-year-old child should be appropriately restrained in the forward-facing car seat as long as possible.
The seat will provide more support and better body posture, keeping them more stable and safer inside the seat.
But, if they outgrew the upper limits recommended by the manufacturer, you can place them in the belt-positioning or harness boosters.
Do not place them in the backless models since they might not be ready.
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Lower Anchor Weight Limits
Lower anchors have weight limits set by the vehicle and car seat manufacturers. You can determine the lower anchor weight limit by checking the warning label or installation diagrams located on the side of the car seat. If your car seat does not have a label, you can determine the maximum allowable child weight for lower anchor use by subtracting the weight of the car seat from 65 pounds.
Lower anchor weight limit = 65 lbs weight of car seat
Know the Facts
Once your child outgrows the vehicle or car seat manufacturers established limits for the lower anchors, stop using the lower anchor attachments and reinstall the car seat using the vehicles seat belt.
Get Your Car Seat Inspected
Whether youve just installed a car seat or need help installing or using one, get help at a car seat inspection station near you. Certified technicians will inspect your car seat free of charge, in most cases, and show you how to correctly install and use it. Some locations now offer virtual inspections.
Cant find an inspection station near you? You may be able to find a tech through Safe Kids Worldwide.
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Video: New Law Requires Children To Stay Rear
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Child Car Seat Quick Tips
Here are some things you might need to keep in mind about transitioning your child from rear-facing to forward-facing:
- When its time for your child to face forward, use a forward-facing seat that features a harness. Remember to use that forward-facing seat for as long as possible or until they reach the limits for it.
- Once your child reaches that limit, you should start using a booster seat until they are old enough to use the car seat belt. Most children will need a booster seat until they are approximately 49, typically until 10-12 years of age. Once they stop using a booster seat, ensure they use both the lap and shoulder seat belts for protection .
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Buying A Child Car Seat
When purchasing a child car seat or booster seat, check that it has:
- a National Safety Mark label which indicates that the seat complies with Canadian regulations and standards and is legal for use in Canada
- an expiry date or useful life date that has not past
- all necessary components
- instructions on how to use and install it
- no signs of wear, torn harness straps, stress marks or cracks
- never been in a collision
Car Seat Safety: Newborn To 2 Years
Babies are at greater risk of injury in crashes. This is because babies’ spines are developing and their heads are large for their bodies. In a crash, if your child is riding forward-facing, her spinal cord may stretch, which could result in serious injury or death. However, when your baby rides rear-facing in a child safety seat, her upper body head, neck and spine is cradled by the back of the child safety seat in the case of a frontal crash, which is the most common type of crash.
According to research studies, children up to 2 years of age who are placed in forward-facing child safety seats are more likely to be seriously injured in a crash than same age children who are in rear-facing child safety seats. Watch the video to learn more about which car seats are appropriate for your baby and how to install them.
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Its Time To Make The Switch
Whether its a car accident, expiration date, or simply your child growing faster than you can keep up, switching to new car seats is part of the parenting journey. It can sometimes be hard to tell when to switch, though.
Hopefully, we were able to equip you with the information you need to sort out this little milestone. Exciting but scary, we know. Now take that confidence and be prepared when the time comes to switch seats.