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Tips for Installing Child Car Seats

image of an infant
  1. Securing your child car seat
  2. Using tether straps with forward-facing car seats
  3. Using Universal Anchorage System (UAS)
  4. Using locking clips
  5. Using harness slots
  6. Securing your child in the harness
  7. Positioning your harness straps
  8. Adjusting chest clips
  9. Installing away from active air bags
  10. Installing your rear-facing child car seat on a proper angle
  11. Booster seats
  12. Check for the safety label
  13. Child Car Seat Installation Videos
    How to install a rear-facing seat for infantsHow to install a rear-facing seat for infants
    How to install a forward-facing seat for  toddlersHow to install a forward-facing seat for toddlers
    How to use a booster seatHow to use a booster seat.




Photo of driver securing the carseat

Tip 1.  Securing your child car safety seat

Always install the seat tightly, using your body weight to tighten and fasten the seatbelt. There should be no more than 2.5 cm (1") of movement where the seatbelt or the Universal Anchorage System (UAS) strap is routed through the child car seat. Each time you place your child in the car safety seat, give it a tug to make sure it is still secure. For securing the seat with the Universal Anchorage System (UAS), see Tip 3.






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Photo of tether strap

Tip 2.  Using tether straps with forward-facing car seats



The tether strap for a forward-facing child car safety seat must be used. The tether strap is located on the rear of the child car safety seat and has a hook. The hook is designed to attach the strap to the tether anchorage on the vehicle as specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Ensure the tether is only secured to the designated anchorage point(s) in the vehicle as specified by the manufacturer.

How to install a forward-facing seat for infantsHow to install a forward-facing seat for infants.




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Photo of Universal Anchorage System Photo of Universal Anchorage System

Tip 3.  Using Universal Anchorage System (UAS)

Canadian vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2002 come with lower universal anchorage points. Consult the vehicle owner's manual before using the UAS system to determine where the anchorage points are located and ensure that the correct method is used as advised by the car seat manufacturer.

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Photo of locking clip

Tip 4.  Using locking clips

Sometimes locking clips may be required to safely secure a child car safety seat in a vehicle. Consult your owner's manual to see if you need one. If so, install the locking clip on the seatbelt within 13 mm (1/2 inch) of the latch plate.



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Photo of harness slots

Tip 5.  Using harness slots

Your child car safety seat's harness straps must be positioned correctly by ensuring they pass through the correct slots.

  • Rear-facing child car safety seat harness straps should sit at or below the child's shoulders.
  • Forward-facing child car safety seat harness straps should sit at or above the child's shoulders.


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Photo of child in harness Photo of harness strap

Tip 6.  Securing your child in the harness

Place the child in the child car seat, ensuring the harness straps lie flat with no more than 1 finger space between the harness and the child’s collarbone (rear-facing) or chest (forward-facing).






Tip 7.  Positioning your harness straps

Ensure that harness straps lie flat and they do not twist or fold. Harness straps need to be straightened out each time the child is secured in the seat.




Photo of chestclip





Tip 8.  Adjusting chest clip

Properly adjust the chest clip on the harness. It should lie flat against the chest and be positioned at armpit level.



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Photo of linstalled car seats

Tip 9.  Installing away from active air bags

Always install child car safety seats away from active air bags. The safest place is in the back seat of a passenger car, sport utility vehicle or light truck and either the second or third row in a mini-van.





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Tip 10.  Installing your rear-facing child car safety seat on a proper angle

Photo of rear-facing car seat on proper angle Photo of pool noodles under the car seat

Most child car safety seats have a recline position that must be used when in the rear-facing position for an infant (up to 9kg or 20lb). Check your child car safety seat owner's manual for instructions. For rear-facing seats, if necessary, use a tightly rolled towel or a foam bar (pool noodle) under the base of the child car safety seat to adjust the angle to 45 degrees. A forward-facing child car safety seat should be in the upright position. Make sure that when the seat is turned from rear-facing to forward-facing, the recline feature is adjusted to the upright position.

How to install a rear-facing seat for infantsHow to install a rear-facing seat for infants.

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Photo of child in booster seat

Tip 11.  Booster seats

Booster seats are required for children under the age of eight, weighing 18 kg or more but less than 36 kg (40-80 lb) and who stand less than 145 cm (4 feet-9 inches) tall.

Booster seats raise a child up so that the adult seatbelt fits and works more effectively. A lap and shoulder belt combination must be used for both the high-back and low-back booster seat. If your vehicle only has lap belts in the rear seat, contact your local dealer regarding retrofitting it with a shoulder belt. Never use a lap belt alone with a booster seat. Your child's head must be supported by the top of the booster seat and the vehicle seat or head rest. The shoulder strap must lie across your child's shoulder and the middle of their chest (not the neck or face) and the lap belt must cross low over the hips (not the stomach/abdomen). Never use seatbelt adjusters.

A child can start using a seatbelt alone once any one of the following criteria is met:

  • the child turns eight years old;
  • the child weighs 36 kg (80 lb.); or,
  • the child is 145 cm (4 feet-9 inches) tall.
    How to use a booster seatHow to use a booster seat.

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Photo of CMVSS label

Tip 12.  Check for the safety label

All child car safety seats manufactured for sale in Canada on and after March 15, 1998 must have a Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (CMVSS) label on the seat. Prior to this date, a Statement of Compliance label was attached to the side of the child car safety seat. Both the CMVSS and Statement of Compliance are the manufacturer's certification that the child car seat meets all applicable regulations in effect at the time the child car seat was manufactured.

  • Also, check your child car seat for an expiry date. Some manufacturers indicate an expiry date in the instruction booklet or on the child car safety seat. Transport Canada provides a list of manufacturers of car seats and booster seats sold in Canada which includes the expiry/life date of their products at www.tc.gc.ca/eng/roadsafety/safedrivers-childsafety-notices

If you are having difficulty or want more information, contact ServiceOntario at 1-800-268-4686 (TTY: 1-866-471-8929), or your local public health unit.

To find a public health unit, check the blue pages of your phone book, call the ServiceOntario information line at 1-800-268-4686, or visit the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care: Public Health Units.

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