Choose the right child car seat

Using the right child car seat is the best way to prevent serious injury to children in collisions. This information will help you find the right child car seat for your child's height, weight and development.

Canadian motor vehicle safety standards label

What to look for

When you buy a child car seat for use in Canada, look for the National Safety Mark label attached to the seat. This label indicates that the seat complies with Canadian regulations and standards and is legal for use in Canada.

Every child car seat and booster seat sold in Canada has an expiry or useful life date on it and should not be used past that date.

Child car seats for infants

Newborn babies and infants need special protection while in a vehicle. In a collision, a properly installed rear-facing child car seat can save your baby's life.

Under Ontario's Highway Traffic Act, infants must use a rear-facing car seat until they weigh at least 9 kg (20 lb.).

This is a minimum requirement. It's best to keep your child in a rear-facing child car seat until they reach the manufacturer's weight or height limits.

When your child outgrows the maximum height and weight of their infant rear-facing car seat, they can move to a larger convertible rear-facing seat until they're ready to ride facing forward.

Child car seats for toddlers

Under the Highway Traffic Act, children must use a forward-facing child car seat when they weigh between 9 kg and 18 kg (20 to 40 lb.)

You need to use a forward-facing child car seat until your child weighs at least 18 kilograms (40 lb.).

This is a minimum requirement. It's best to keep your child in a forward-facing child car seat until they reach the manufacturer's weight and height limits.

Booster seats

Booster seats raise children so adult seat belts protect them better. Booster seats protect children from serious injury 3 ½ times better than seat belts alone.

You need to use a booster seat if your child:

  • is under the age of eight
    AND
  • weighs between 18 and 36 kg (40-80 lb.)
    AND
  • is less than 145 cm (4 feet-9 inches) tall

Seatbelts

Seatbelts are designed for adults and older children. Children may be ready to move from a booster seat to a vehicle's seatbelt once:

  • they can sit all the way against the back of the vehicle seat with legs bent comfortably over the edge and maintain this position for the entire trip
  • they can have the shoulder belt flat across the shoulder and chest
  • the lap belt crosses over the hips, not the stomach

Your child can start using a seatbelt without a booster seat once he or she:

  • turns eight years old
    OR
  • weighs 36 kg (80 lb.)
    OR
  • is 145 cm (4 feet-9 inches) tall

All drivers are responsible for ensuring that passengers under 16 are secured properly.

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