For the best fit in any vehicle, the seatbelt or Universal Anchorage System (UAS) must hold the child car seat firmly in place. The proper child car seat is more dependent on the child's size than age. However, a child should remain rear facing until the following criteria are met:
- is at least 1 year of age
- walks unassisted
It is recommended that children stay in any seating position (rear or forward) until they reach the maximum weight recommended by the manufacturer for that seating position.
Guidelines to follow
- Push the child car seat down while you tighten the belt or UAS. There should be less than 1 inch movement from side to side and no movement front to back.
- Check your manufacturer's instructions to ensure the child car seat will accommodate your child's weight and height.
- Ensure you use the proper seatbelt path depending on rear-facing or forward-facing car seat.
- Place children 12 years and under in the back seat and never in seats with a front air bag. Children sitting too close to a deploying air bag can be seriously, even fatally, injured.
- Place children in the middle of the back seat whenever possible. However, a booster seat needs to be used with a lap/shoulder seatbelt and should be placed accordingly.
- Consider your child's size when purchasing a child car seat. It's a good idea to place your child in the seat prior to purchase - comfort and proper fit are important.
- Ensure harness straps lie flat (not twisted). The chest clip should be at the child's underarm level. The harness should be tight enough so that you can fit only one finger between the harness and the child's collar bone.
- Don't use child car seats with door-mounted seatbelts or motorized seatbelts. The restraint won't be secure.
- Don't wrap your baby in a blanket before putting on a harness. Nothing should interfere with the straps that hold the baby in the car seat. Instead, put the straps on first and then cover the baby with blankets.
- Don't install the infant car seat too upright. A newborn's head will flop forward, which could close the baby's airway, making it difficult to breathe. Place a rolled towel under the front of the car seat. This will tip the seat back for a better angle (about 45 degrees).
- Don't use household booster seats in your vehicle. They aren't designed for transportation purposes.
Car seat installation can be complicated. Attempting to do it yourself can teach you a lot. Once you've installed your car seat you can have it checked by a trained technician to see if you've done it properly. You can visit a scheduled car seat clinic in your area or locate a car seat technician to book an appointment.
1-800-667-8015 ext. 6042