Car seat safety has been a hot topic as of late with parents, governments and organizations highlighting their many benefits. Parents and Providers should always be aware of the latest information about car seats/booster seats to provide their children with the most affordable, safe and reliable seats for every single car ride.
Choosing the Right Car Seat
The most common types of car seats are:
- Rear facing infant car seats: Babies have weak neck and back muscles. Their necks need extra support while in a car. A rear-facing infant seat will support your baby’s neck in a sudden stop or crash. Some child car seats can be used for more than one stage of your child’s development.
- Forward-facing car seats: Forward-facing seats are for older children with stronger back and neck muscles. As long as your child fits within the weight and height ranges of his or her rear-facing seat, it is best to use that seat for as long as possible.
- Booster seats: Don’t hurry to move your child to a booster seat. Your child must weigh at least 18 kg (40 lbs) and meet the height guidelines in your booster seat user guide. As long as your child still fits within the weight and height ranges for his or her forward-facing seat, it is safest to use that seat as long as possible.
- Seat belts: Don’t hurry. It is best to keep your child in a booster seat as long as possible. Once he or she has outgrown a booster seat, you must make sure that the seat belt fits correctly and it is worn at all times when in the car.
In Ontario, children must ride in a rear facing car seat until they are a minimum of 20lbs (9 kgs). Children between 20 pounds (9 kg) and 40 pounds (18 kg) must ride in an appropriate car seat (see above for more details). Children must ride in a booster seat until they are a minimum of 4 feet, 9 inches (145 cm) tall, or a minimum of 80 pounds (36 kg), or a minimum of 8 years old.
How to Install Car Seats
Installing a car seat for the first time can be quite the task. Don’t be scared, there are many resources such as installation videos and step-by-step guides available to assist you in correctly installing a car seat in your vehicle. In addition, many organizations offer car seat clinics. At these clinics, parents can learn more about how to properly install age appropriate car seats in their vehicles with help from certified car seat technicians.
Do Car Seats Expire?
According to Transport Canada, all children’s car seats and booster seats sold in Canada have an expiry or useful life date on them, even though this is not required by regulation. People should not use children’s car seats and booster seats past their expiry or useful life date.
Photo courtesy of Transport Canada