Car Seat Safety
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Car Seat Safety

Car Seat Safety

Car seats save children’s lives. Using the proper seat for your child and installing it correctly is very important.

Car seat checks are available throughout Saskatchewan so parents can have their infant or child seat checked by trained technicians. The technicians will let you know how to install and use your car seat properly. Car seat checks are free. For more information about car seat checks in your community, visit Saskatchewan Government Insurance.

Your child’s car seat needs will change as he grows and develops.

Car Seat Safety (0-1 years old)

Rear-Facing Car Seats (0-1 year old)

You will need to have a car seat installed in your car before you leave the hospital with your new baby.

Your child will need to be in a rear-facing car seat until she is 1 year old AND at least 22 lb (10 kg) AND can walk by herself. In this type of car seat, your child will be facing the back of your car. This is the safest position for your baby at this age.

Rear Facing Seat

Why are Rear-Facing Car Seats Important?

Rear-facing car seats are angled so that your child’s head is supported. This prevents your child’s head from falling forward.

A rear-facing car seat fully supports your child’s head, neck, and back. If you are in a car crash, the force caused by the crash will go along the whole length of your child’s back. This will decrease your child’s risk of injuring his head, back, neck, and getting internal injuries.

In a properly installed rear-facing car seat, your baby is in the safest position in your car.

Buying a Car Seat

There are a lot of options out there for rear-facing seats. Most parents choose to start with an infant carrier. With this type of seat, you can carry your baby to and from the car. The base of this car seat is always installed in the vehicle. The seat attaches into it. Because you do not have to remove the base, it can stay properly installed all the time. Infant carriers are convenient and fit small babies best.

The other types of rear-facing seats are called convertible seats (rear-facing and forward-facing) and 3-in-1 seats (rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster). If you are buying one of these seats, check the minimum weight for a child using the rear-facing option. Many of these seats have a 5 lb (2.25 kg) minimum weight requirement.

All car seats that are sold in Canada have to meet specific safety standards. The seat you buy should have a sticker that looks like the one to the left. There are many car seats available to buy and some are more expensive than others. Just because a seat is more expensive does not mean it is safer.

Not all car seats work well in all vehicles. Before you buy a car seat, make sure it fits in your vehicle.

Be sure to fill out and mail the car seat warranty card. If there is a recall or problem with your car seat, the manufacturer will contact you.

Used Car Seats

If you are thinking of buying a used car seat, find the answers to these questions before you buy. It may not be worth the risk to your baby’s safety.

  • Is the car seat made after 2012?
  • Has the car seat been in a crash?
  • Is the car seat past its expiry date? This can be found on the plastic of the seat.
  • Are the straps frayed or torn?
  • Are there cracks in the plastic?
  • Is the manual with the seat?
  • Are there missing parts?

Installation

The following video shows the installation of a car seat: How to Install a Car Seat.

Keep in mind that not all vehicles and car seats are the same. Make sure that you check your vehicle’s manual and your car seat’s manual for installation instructions.

Your child’s rear-facing car seat should be placed in the back seat of your vehicle. Your child can be injured by the airbags in the front seat because of her size and development.

It is important that your baby’s car seat is installed properly. To make sure that you are using a rear-facing seat correctly, check the following:

  • Check both the car seat manual and vehicle manual for specific instructions.
  • The car seat should be in the back seat and facing the rear of the vehicle.
  • The seat belt or Universal Anchorage System should be tightened, as indicated in the car seat manual. The seat should not be able to move more than 2.5 cm (1 in). Do not use a seat belt and Universal Anchorage System at the same time.
  • Ensure that the seat is on the appropriate angle according to the instruction manual. This keeps your baby’s head supported.

Securing Your Child

  • The chest clip should be level with your baby’s arm pits.
    Secure all five points of the harness.
  • The harness straps should lie flat.
  • The harness straps should be tightened so you can only fit one finger between the strap and your baby’s collar bone.
  • The harness strap comes out of the car seat at or below the baby’s shoulders.
  • The top of your child’s head should be at least 2.5 cm (1 in) from the top of the seat.
  • If using an infant seat, check the manual to see what position the carry handle should be in when being used in the vehicle.

Using After-Market Products

After-market products are products that are sold separately from your car seat. After-market products are not recommended for use. These have not been tested for safety during a crash.

After-market products include:

  • Mirrors
  • Toys
  • Window covers
  • Harness pads
  • Seat protectors
  • Infant support inserts
  • Head rests
  • Pillows
  • Shoulder pads/harness covers
  • Custom covers
  • Waterproof pads

Please go to Transport Canada’s website for more information.

Expiry Dates

It is important to know the expiry date of the car seat that you are using. Car seats expire because the plastic parts begin to break down over time. Everyday use of the seat can also cause wear and tear.

Expiry dates can be different depending on the brand of seat that you buy.

To figure out what the expiry date of your car seat is:

  1. Check the date that your car seat was made. This can be found on the plastic part of your car seat.
  2. Sometimes the expiry date for the car seat is listed in the plastic part of the seat or on a sticker. If it is not, you will find information about the expiry date in the car seats manual. You can also call the manufacturer for this information.

Throwing Out Your Car Seat

When it comes time to throw out your car seat, follow the steps below.

  1. Remove padding and cut it in two.
  2. Remove the harness and take all straps off.
  3. Cut the harness so that it cannot be used again.

By taking the time to do these steps, you are helping to ensure that other children will not be put in an unsafe seat.

Replacing the Seat Because of a Crash

You will need to replace your car seat(s) if it has been in a crash. Talk to SGI about getting the replacement cost covered if you are insured.

The following is the contact information for manufacturers of car seats available in Canada. If you cannot find the manufacturer of your child’s car seat, you can find their information online.

Brand Name Website Phone Number
5514 KM www.5514km.ca 1-888-823-3132
Baby Trend www.babytrend.com 1-800-328-7363
Britax www.britax.ca 1-888-427-4829
Cosco Juvenile www.dorel.com 1-800-544-1108
Diono www.ca.diono.com 1-866-954-9786
Dorel www.dorel.com
Eddie Bauer www.dorel.com 1-800-544-1108
Evenflo www.evenflo.com 1-937-773-3971
Fisher-Price www.fisher-price.com 1-800-524-8697
Graco www.gracobaby.ca 1-800-345-4109
Orbit Baby www.orbitbaby.com
Safety 1st www.dorel.com 1-800-544-1108

Car Seat Safety (1-2 years old)

Forward-Facing Car Seats (1-2 years old)

At this age, your child may be in a forward-facing car seat. This seat will still be placed in the back seat of your vehicle. Your child can be injured by the airbags in the front seat because of her size and development.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you switch your child to a forward-facing seat.

  • Is your child at least 1 year of age?
  • Does your child weigh more than 22 lb (10 kg)?
  • Can the child walk by herself?

If you answered yes to all these questions, you can legally move your child to a forward-facing seat.

Forward Facing Child SeatIf your child still fits within the weight and height requirements of his rear-facing seat, it is safest to keep using that seat. You will need to look at the car seat manual to find out this information. There is no need to switch your child to a forward-facing seat. Remember, keeping your child in a rear-facing car seat is the safest for your child.

Why is a Forward-Facing Car Seat Important?

Forward-facing car seats have 5-point harnesses. The harness secures your child by being placed over both shoulders and both legs. All points of the harness connect at the hips.

The harness is made so that if there is a crash, the force will be spread over the strongest bones in your child’s body. This can help prevent serious injuries.

The crotch strap also helps to prevent your child from slipping out of the seat.

Buying a Car Seat

There are 3 different types of forward-facing car seats:

  • Convertible seat – rear-facing and forward-facing
  • 3 in 1 seat – rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster
  • Combination seat – forward-facing and booster

All car seats that are sold in Canada have to meet specific safety standards. The seat you buy should have a sticker that looks like the one to the left. There are many car seats available to buy and some are more expensive than others. Just because a seat is more expensive does not mean it is safer.

Not all car seats work well in all vehicles. Before you buy one, be sure it fits in your vehicle.

Be sure to fill out and mail the car seat warranty card. If there is a recall or problem with your car seat, the manufacturer will contact you.

Used Car Seats

If you are thinking of buying a used car seat, find the answers to these questions before you buy. It may not be worth the risk to your baby’s safety.

  • Is the car seat made after 2012?
  • Has the car seat been in a crash?
  • Is the car seat past its expiry date? This can be found on the plastic of the seat.
  • Are the straps frayed or torn?
  • Are there cracks in the plastic?
  • Is the manual with the seat?
  • Are there missing parts?

Installation

The following video shows the installation of a car seat: How to Install a Car Seat.

Not all vehicles and car seats are the same. Make sure that you check your vehicle’s manual and your car seat’s manual for installation instructions. Often, a car seat manufacturer will have installation videos on their websites.

It is important that your child’s car seat is installed properly. To make sure that you are using a forward-facing seat correctly, check the following:

  • The car seat is in the back seat and faces the front of the vehicle.
  • Most of the car seat, at least 80% of it, should be sitting on your vehicle’s seat.
  • The seat belt or Universal Anchorage System is tightened on the car seat. The seat should not be able to move more than 2.5 cm (1 in). Do not use a seat belt and Universal Anchorage System at the same time.
  • The tether strap should be attached to the tether anchor. You can find the location of the tether anchor in your vehicle by looking in your vehicle’s manual.
  • The chest clip is level with your child’s arm pits.
    Secure all five points of the harness
  • The harness straps are tightened so you can only fit one finger between the strap and your child’s collar bone.
  • The harness strap comes out of the car seat at or above your child’s shoulders.

Using After-Market Products

After-market products are products that are sold separately from your car seat. After-market products are not recommended for use. These have not been tested for safety during a crash.

After-market products include:

  • Mirrors
  • Toys
  • Window covers
  • Harness pads
  • Seat protectors
  • Infant support inserts
  • Head rests
  • Pillows
  • Shoulder pads/harness covers
  • Custom covers
  • Waterproof pads

Please go to Transport Canada’s website for more information.

Replacing the Seat Because of a Crash

You will need to replace your car seat(s) if it has been in a crash. Talk to SGI about getting the replacement cost covered if you are insured.

Expiry Dates

It is important to know the expiry date of the car seat that you are using. Car seats expire because the plastic parts begin to break down over time. Everyday use of the seat can also cause wear and tear.

Expiry dates can be different depending on the brand of seat that you buy.

To figure out what the expiry date of your car seat is:

  1. Check the date that your car seat was made. This can be found on the plastic part of your car seat.
  2. Sometimes the expiry date for the car seat is listed in the plastic part of the seat or on a sticker. If it is not, you will find information about the expiry date in the car seats manual. You can also call the manufacturer for this information.

Throwing Out Your Car Seat

When it comes time to throw out your car seat, follow the steps below.

  • Remove padding and cut it in two.
  • Remove the harness and take all straps off.
  • Cut the harness so that it cannot be used again.

By taking the time to do these steps, you are helping to ensure that other children will not be put in an unsafe seat.

Car Seat Safety (2-5)

Forward-Facing Car Seats (2-5 years old)

At this age, your child can be in a forward-facing car seat. This seat will still be placed in the back seat of your vehicle. Your child can be injured by the airbags in the front seat because of her size and development.

Check your car seat for the maximum weight it can hold. Many seats are safe for children who weigh between 22 and 65 lb (10-29 kg).

Forward Facing Child Seat

Why is a Forward-Facing Car Seat Important?

Forward-facing car seats have harnesses. The harness is made so that if there is a crash, the force of the crash will be spread over the strongest bones in your child’s body. This can help prevent serious injuries. As well, the crotch strap will help prevent your child from slipping out of the seat.

Buying a Car Seat

There are 3 different types of forward-facing car seats:

  • Convertible – rear-facing and forward-facing
  • 3 in 1 – rear-facing, forward-facing, and can be used as a booster
  • Combination – forward-facing and booster

Purchase the type that best fits your family needs. All car seats sold in Canada have to meet bench mark standards of testing. Price differences often reflect features that make seats easier to use.

All car seats that are sold in Canada have to meet specific safety standards. The seat you buy should have a sticker that looks like the one to the left. There are many car seats available to buy and some are more expensive than others. Just because a seat is more expensive does not mean it is safer.

Not all car seats work well in all vehicles. Before you buy one, be sure it fits in your vehicle.

Be sure to fill out and mail the car seat warranty card. If there is a recall or problem with your car seat, the manufacturer will contact you.

Used Car Seats

If you are thinking of buying a used car seat, find the answers to these questions before you buy. It may not be worth the risk to your child’s safety.

  • Is the car seat made after 2012?
  • Has the car seat been in a crash?
  • Is the car seat past its expiry date? This can be found on the plastic of the seat.
  • Are the straps frayed or torn?
  • Are there cracks in the plastic?
  • Is the manual with the seat?
  • Are there missing parts?

Installation

The following video shows the installation of a car seat: How to Install a Car Seat.

Keep in mind that not all vehicles and car seats are the same. Make sure that you check your vehicle’s manual and your car seat’s manual for installation instructions. Often, a car seat manufacturer will have installation videos on their websites.

It is important that your child’s car seat is installed properly. To make sure that you are using a forward-facing seat correctly, check the following:

  • The car seat is in the back seat and faces the front of the vehicle.
  • 80% or most of the car seat should be sitting on your vehicle’s seat.
  • The seat belt or Universal Anchorage System is tightened on the car seat. The seat should not be able to move more than 2.5 cm (1 in). Do not use a seat belt and Universal Anchorage System at the same time.
  • The tether strap should be attached to the tether anchor. You can find the location of the tether anchor in the vehicle in your vehicle’s manual.
  • The chest clip is level with your child’s arm pits.
    Secure all five points of the harness
  • The harness straps are tightened so you can fit only one finger between the strap and your child’s collar bone.
  • The harness strap comes out of the car seat at or above your child’s shoulders.

Using After-Market Products

After-market products are products that are sold separately from your car seat. After-market products are not recommended for use. These have not been tested for safety during a crash.

After-market products include:

  • Mirrors
  • Toys
  • Window covers
  • Harness pads
  • Seat protectors
  • Infant support inserts
  • Head rests
  • Pillows
  • Shoulder pads/harness covers
  • Custom covers
  • Waterproof pads

Please go to Transport Canada’s website for more information.

Replacing the Seat Because of a Crash

You will need to replace your car seat(s) if it has been in a crash. Talk to SGI about getting the replacement cost covered if you are insured.

Expiry Dates

It is important to know the expiry date of the car seat that you are using. Car seats expire because the plastic parts begin to break down over time. Everyday use of the seat can also cause wear and tear.

Expiry dates can be different depending on the brand of seat that you buy.

To figure out what the expiry date of your car seat is:

  1. Check the date that your car seat was made. This can be found on the plastic part of your car seat.
  2. Sometimes the expiry date for the car seat is listed in the plastic part of the seat or on a sticker. If it is not, you will find information about the expiry date in the car seat’s manual. You can also call the manufacturer for this information.

Throwing Out Your Car Seat

When it comes time to throw out your car seat, follow the steps below.

  • Remove padding and cut it in two.
  • Remove the harness and take all straps off.
  • Cut the harness so that it cannot be used again.

By taking the time to do these steps, you are helping to ensure that other children will not be put in an unsafe seat.

Booster Seats

Children should be kept in forward-facing seats as long as possible.

In Saskatchewan, children need to be in booster seats until they are at least 7 years old. Children should also weigh at least 80 lb (36 kg) AND stand 145 cm (49 in) tall before they are moved out of booster seats.

Booster seats are still placed in the back seat of your vehicle. Your child can be injured by the airbags in the front seat because of her size and development.

High Back Booster Seat

Why is a Booster Seat Important?

Booster seats raise children up on the vehicle seat so that the seatbelt properly fits their bodies. Without a booster seat, children are at risk of abdominal and spinal injuries.

Buying a Booster Seat

There are a few different types of booster seats:

  • A high-back booster seat has a full back on it that adds head and neck support and also has a shoulder belt routing clip.
  • A low-back/simple or no-back booster seat requires that the vehicle seat be at least to the top of the child’s ears for head and neck support. Most vehicle seats that have headrests should work with this type of booster seat.
  • 3 in 1 or combination seats can be converted from a forward-facing harnessed seat to a booster seat. Follow the car seat manual’s instructions.
    All car seats that are sold in Canada have to meet specific safety standards. The seat you buy should have a sticker that looks like the one to the left. There are many car seats available to buy and some are more expensive than others. Just because a seat is more expensive does not mean it is safer.
  • Not all booster seats work well in all vehicles. Before you buy one, be sure it fits in your vehicle.
  • Be sure to fill out and mail the booster seat warranty card. If there is a recall or problem with your booster seat, the manufacturer will contact you.

Used Booster Seats

If you are thinking of buying a used booster seat, find the answers to these questions before you buy. It may not be worth the risk to your baby’s safety.

  • Is it made after 2012?
  • Has the booster seat been in a crash?
  • Is the booster seat past its expiry date? This can be found on the plastic of the seat.
  • Are there cracks in the plastic?
  • Is the manual with the seat?
  • Are there missing parts?

Installation

Make sure that you check your vehicle manual and the booster seat manual for installation instructions. Many booster seat companies have installation videos on their websites.

It is important that your child’s booster seat is installed properly. To make sure that you are using a booster seat correctly, check the following:

  • The booster seat is in the back seat and faces the front of the vehicle.
  • Most of the booster seat, at least 80%, should be sitting on your vehicle’s seat.
  • The lap belt should be placed under the arms of the booster seat or as shown in the booster seat manual. The shoulder belt goes across your child’s chest and over the shoulder.
  • The booster seat should sit straight and be against the vehicle seat.

Using After-Market Products

After-market products are not recommended for use. These products have not been tested for safety during a crash.

After-market products are products that are sold separately from your booster seats. These include:

  • Window covers
  • Seat belt pads
  • Head rests
  • Pillows

Please go to Transport Canada’s website for more information.

Replacing the Seat Because of a Crash

You will need to replace your booster seat if it has been in a crash. Talk to SGI about getting the replacement cost covered if you are insured

Expiry Dates

It is important to know the expiry date of the booster seat that you are using. Booster seats expire because the plastic parts begin to break down over time. Everyday use of the seat can also cause wear and tear.

Expiry dates can be different depending on the brand of seat that you buy.

To figure out what the expiry date of your booster seat is:

  1. Check the date that your car seat was made. This can be found on the plastic part of your booster seat.
  2. Sometimes the expiry date for the car seat is listed in the plastic part of the seat or on a sticker. If it is not, you will find information about the expiry date in the booster seats manual. You can also call the manufacturer for this information.

Throwing Out Your Booster Seat

When it comes time to throw out your booster seat, follow the steps below.

  • Remove padding and cut it in two.
  • Ensure the seat is rendered unusable by someone else.

By taking the time to do these steps, you are helping to ensure that other children will not be put in an unsafe seat.

Quiz

If you would like to receive a certificate for completing this program, you need to complete the quizzes for each section of this resource. Once you have completed all 18 quizzes, you will be able to download your certificate.

You also need to register to get a certificate. If you’re not yet registered, please press go here (connect to register).