Choose the right child car seat

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How do I transport my child with special needs?

You may choose to use a child restraint system. The system must comply with federal safety standards governing alternative restraints for children with special needs (i.e. CMVSS 213.3 and 213.5).

Q2: Can I buy a used child car seat?

It's best to buy a child car seat new.

If you're thinking about buying or using a pre-owned child car seat, check it carefully. Make sure it:

  • Meets the latest Transport Canada Guidelines and the requirements of Health Canada's Consumer Product Safety Act.
  • Meets Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and displays a National Safety Mark. This tells you that the car seat met all safety standards in place when it was made.
  • Has its instructions and all necessary hardware.
  • Has never been in a collision.
  • Has not expired or exceeded its useful life date as determined by the manufacturer.
  • Has no signs of wear, including discolouration, stress marks or cracks, or worn or torn harness straps.

If a child car seat doesn't appear to be in good condition, don't buy or use it.

Q3: Are any drivers or vehicles exempt from Ontario's child car seat requirements?

Yes. The following drivers are exempt:

  • The driver of a taxicab, bus or public vehicle, while transporting a passenger for hire.
  • The driver of an ambulance as defined in section 61 of the Highway Traffic Act.
  • Drivers of vehicles equipped with lap belts only are exempt from using booster seats.

Q4: What is the penalty for not using a child car seat or booster seat?

If you fail to secure or improperly secure children in your care, you could be charged and fined $240 and two demerit points on your driving record if convicted.

Q5: What are the seatbelt and child car seat requirements in taxis?

As a passenger in a taxi, you must wear a seatbelt. Passengers 16 years of age or older can face a fine of $240 for not wearing a seatbelt.

Taxi drivers are responsible for making sure passengers under the age of 16 are using seatbelts properly. Otherwise, they can face a fine of $240 and two demerit points on their driver record.

Taxi drivers are exempt from the child car seat and booster seat requirements when transporting passengers for hire, except if they are:

  • transporting children for personal reasons
  • operating a taxi while under contract with a school board or other authority for the transportation of children.

Q6: What are some types of special needs restraints for transporting children?

Car beds/restraints for premature or low birth weight infants: Infants born at less than 37 weeks or who weigh less than 2,500 g (about 5.5 lbs.) can travel in a car bed if they're unable to use a conventional rear-facing child car seat.

Snug Seat Hippo: Used by children requiring casts.

EZ-On Vest: These safety vests are designed for children with poor trunk control, certain casts and children diagnosed with a developmental disability. Your child must be at least 2 years old and weigh between 9 and 76 kg (20-168 lbs.).

Modified EZ-On Vest: This safety vest is designed for children who must travel lying down. They are designed for children 2 to 12 years old who weigh between 9 and 45 kg (20-100 lbs.)

Q7: Do I need to carry a doctor's note when transporting my child with an alternative type of restraint?

No - each child restraint bears a National Safety Mark indicating that it meets all federal safety standards.

Note: When you buy an EZ-On Vest, you will receive a letter from the manufacturer. The vest won't have a National Safety Mark, so you will need to carry this letter at all times to prove that the vest meets federal standards.

Q8: Do visiting drivers need to follow Ontario's child car seat and booster seat laws?

Yes. In Ontario, all drivers (including visiting drivers) must ensure that children under the age of 16 occupy a seating position and wear the seatbelt assembly, and that children under the age of 8 are properly secured in the correct child car seat or booster seat according to Ontario's requirements.

  • Only child restraint systems that comply with the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act can be used, or
  • If your vehicle is registered in the United States, you can use child car seats and booster seats that comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 made under Title 49 of the United States Code, Chapter 301, Motor Vehicle Safety.
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