USA Auto transport

Car shipping, Vehicle transport safety

Safe & Secure: Choosing the right car seat for your child

Posted by autotran on April 29, 2009


Newborn babies and infants require special protection while in a vehicle. In a collision, properly installed rear-facing car seats can save your child’s life.

Birth to 9 kg (20 lb.)

Birth to 9 kg (20 lb.)

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.

When the child outgrows the maximum height and weight of his/her infant seat, you may require a convertible rear-facing seat until your child is ready to be facing forward. The law requires using a rear-facing car seat until the baby is at least 9 kilograms (20 lb.) The law is a minimum requirement.

The law is a minimum requirement. It’s best to keep your child rear-facing until they are at least one year old or until they have reached either the maximum height or weight limits of the rear-facing seat.

  • Birth to 9 kg (20 lb.)
  • Rear-facing seat
  • Use away from an active airbag

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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, then use your body weight to tighten and fasten the seatbelt or Universal Anchorage System (UAS).

Ensure that the shoulder straps are at or above the child’s shoulders. Straps should be snug, with only one finger width between the strap and the child’s chest. Avoid using aftermarket car seat products. They can become projectiles or may have hard or sharp surfaces that can hurt the child in a collision.

  • 9 to 18 kg (20-40 lb.)
  • Forward-facing seat
  • Use with a tether strap

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Pre-school to 8 years old

child weighs 36 kg (80 lbs.)

child weighs 36 kg (80 lbs.)

The law requires booster seats for children who have outgrown a child car seat but are too small for a regular seat belt.

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.

A lap and shoulder combination belt must be used with all booster seats. Your child’s head must be supported by the top of the booster, vehicle seat or headrest. The shoulder strap must lie across the child’s shoulder (not the neck or face) and middle of the chest, and the lap belt must cross low over the hips (not the stomach/abdomen). Never use seatbelt adjusters.

  • Between 18 and 36 kg (40—80 lb.)
  • Booster seat
  • Use with lap and shoulder belt

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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.

Over 36 kg (80 lb.), 145 cm (4' 9”) tall or 8 years old

Over 36 kg (80 lb.), 145 cm (4' 9”) tall or 8 years old

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).

Children under 13 years of age are safest in the back seat. Never put two children in the same seatbelt or place the shoulder strap behind the child’s back.

Remember, one person, one belt. There must be a seatbelt for each person in the vehicle.

Use a seatbelt for every trip and teach your child to wear a seatbelt by always wearing one yourself!

  • Over 36 kg (80 lb.), 145 cm (4′ 9”) tall or 8 years old
  • Vehicle seatbelt or booster seat

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Important tips to keep your child safe and secure…

  • 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.

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How Do I Know the Seat is Installed Correctly?

Carefully follow the owner’s manuals for both your vehicle and the child car seat. Click here for step-by-step Tips for Installing Child Car Seats with photos.

Most importantly, ensure the seat is tightly secured. If you are having difficulty or want to have your child car seat installation inspected, contact your local public health unit.

To find a public health unit, check the blue pages of your phone book, call the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care information line at 1-800-268-1154, or visit the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care: – Public Health Units.

For more information about child car seat safety contact:

Ministry of transportation – MTOINFO – 1 800 268-4686


Your local public health unit


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