Installing and Using Your Car Seat

Whether taking trips to the grocery store or treks to visit grandparents, you and your child will drive thousands of kilometers every year.

Through our clinics we have found that as many as 90% of car seats are installed improperly. A properly installed car seat can reduce the risk of serious injury or death by as much as 71%.

It’s important to find the seat that is right for you and your child. Learn more about how to ensure your child’s car seat is installed and used properly, and where you can go for more help.

SEATS for Kids is committed to ensuring every parent or caregiver knows how to install and use their child’s car seat safely every time.

Car Seat Expiration

All car seats and booster seats sold in Canada have an expiry or useful life date. Using an expired car seat or booster seat is against the law and puts your child at risk. If you can’t find the expiry date on your seat, you can find the “useful life date” specific to your seat in your instruction manual. You can also call the seat manufacturer directly.

There’s No Rush to the Next Stage

Don’t rush your child to the next stage seat. Keep babies and toddlers rear facing as long as possible. Many seats will accommodate rear facing beyond age 2. Children should remain harnessed until they reach their car seat’s height or weight requirements, remain in a booster as long as possible and ride in the back seat until age 13.

Choosing a Car Seat for Your Child

All car seats for sale in Canada undergo the same rigorous testing and all are safe when used correctly. When buying a car seat, look for the National Safety Mark label, which indicates that the seat is legal for use in Canada. Every car seat and booster also has an expiry date and should not be used past that date.

The Best Seat is the One That…

1. Fits your child
All car seats, including boosters, include height and weight limits that must be followed. Your child must meet the minimum requirements for their seat. If your child outgrows their seat before they are ready to move to the next stage, a new seat with high height or weight limits is needed.

2. Fits your vehicle
Not every car seat can be installed correctly in every vehicle. Make sure the seat can be safely installed in your vehicle, following the instructions in the manual. If you need help, meet with a technician or attend a car seat clinic.

3. Is used correctly every time
Follow the instructions that come with your seat to make sure your child is riding safely in their seat every time you travel.

Staying Safe and Warm in Winter

Winter snow suits and bulky clothing prevent proper tightening and positioning of straps and buckles. In a collision, clothing will compress and the straps will become too loose to properly hold your child. Dress your child in thin but warm clothes and keep their harness tight. If your child gets cold, blankets over top are a great way to safely keep your child warm in the car.

Seat belt or UAS?

When used properly, a seat belt installation or the Universal Anchor System (UAS) are equally safe. Use whichever system works best for your needs and that will ensure you can install the seat safely. Very few vehicles or seats allow the use of both, so consult your manuals.

Aftermarket Products and Projectiles

Products such as seat protectors, infant mirrors, toys, roll up window shades, and ‘bundle bags’ are not recommended and might not be allowed by your seat’s manufacturer. These items are not crash-tested and can pose a safety risk to your child. If the item did not come with your car seat or vehicle, do not use it.

Remember, anything in your car can become a projectile in a collision. Toys, pets, snow brushes, bags, and even other people can all hit you or your child and cause serious injury. Keep loose objects in your trunk or under a cargo cover. Pets should also be properly restrained for their safety as well as yours. As an adult, always remember to wear the vehicle seat belt.