Motor vehicle accidents are, unfortunately, the number one cause of death in children under the age of 14 in Canada. Car seats reduce fatality by 71%, however; if installed incorrectly car seats don’t prevent damages as well as they could in a car accident.

Next month is car seat safety awareness month. Here are 10 tips to make sure your car seat is properly installed to protect your little one.

  1. Choose the right car seat for your child’s height, weight, and development stage. Follow the chart below to see what sear your child should be using.
Type of Car SeatAge, Weight, Height
Rear Facing Car SeatUnder 1 year Old
Less Than 10kg (22lbs)
Forward Facing Car SeatOver 1 Year Old
Between 10kg (22lbs) & 18kg (40lbs)
Booster SeatUnder 9 Years Old
Over 18kg (40lbs)
Under 145cm (4’9″)
Adult Seat BeltOver 9 Years Old
Over 36kg (80lbs)
Over 145cm (4’9″)

2. Car seats have an expiry date. Do not use a seat that has been in a crash, r for which you do not know the history.

3. The middle seat of the row is safest. If you have more than one child, or a car without a row, as long as they’re sitting in the backseat, they are safer than in the front.

4. Make sure the seat is installed securely. Test it by grabbing the base of the seat at the belt path and give it a firm shake. You do not want to be able to move the seat more than an inch from front to back, or side to side.

5. Make sure your child is harnessed in correctly. The harness should be flat with the chest clip at armpit level.

6. Keep your child rear facing for as long as possible. It’s the safest position for your child’s it protects their head and neck.

7. Do not rush to move your child to the next stage. As long as they meet the requirements, there is no harm in staying with the same type of car seats.

8. Don’t rush your child from booster seat to seatbelt. The booster seat allows the seatbelt to sit on the proper spots of a growing child. Children should not move into a seatbelt until they are at least 145cm (4’9″).

9. Children under 12 should stay in the back seat.

10. Read the car manual, and the car sear manual to ensure that your car seat and child will be properly fastened.

By following these steps, your car seat will do what is was intended to do – protect your child.

Cantini Law has over 30 years of experience advocating for clients suffering injuries resulting in a motor vehicle accident. With 5 locations serving NS, NB, and PEI, contact Cantini for a free consultation at 1-844-CANTINI (226-8464).