Buying a car seat is one of the most important buying decisions that new parents make. After all, it is carrying the most precious cargo! With so much information at our fingertips these days it can sometimes be overwhelming sifting through everything to get to all the important stuff. As car seats are usually final sale it is really important that you do your research and make an informed buying decision.
Rear- facing car seats are typically car seats that are suitable for infants. It is recommended for use from birth until your child outgrows the car seats weight/height limits. A rear-facing facing car seat is designed to cradle the infants head while supporting the neck and back muscles,as these areas require extra support and help to absorb the force of the impact in the event of a collision. Your child seat user guide will tell you the maximum weight and height of a child for that seat.
For those parents on a budget, consider buying a convertible car seat. A convertible seat faces the rear of the car at first, and later is turned toward the front. With these types of car seats you avoid purchasing another seat when your child is ready for forward facing seats. The downside is that it cannot be taken in and out of the car like an infant seat can, and most parents can agree that the ability to move a sleeping baby in an infant car seat, is priceless! Forward-facing seats are suitable for older children. It is recommended for use from when the child has outgrown the rear-facing car seat until the child reaches the weight and height limit as specified in the car seat user guide. A forward-facing car seat is designed for stronger children with stronger back and neck muscles and is advised to use for as long as possible.
Booster seats are suitable for older children which have outgrown the forward-facing seat. It is recommended to use a booster seat when the child’s height is tall enough to comfortably use the car’s safety belts while seated. Booster seats is designed to raise the child upwards to allow the seatbelt to correctly pass across them for optimal safety and comfort.
Important Facts to Consider:
- Make sure it follows your country’s rules and regulation: Canada has strict laws when it comes to safety standards for car seats. For that reason, using a car seat purchased from outside Canada, whether bought online or in a store, is illegal. Car seats in Canada must have the National Safety Mark affixed to it.
- Be sure to check your provincial/territorial laws and car seat guide for height and weight requirements as these vary by manufacturer and province/territory.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instruction when installing. You can also call your local car seat hotline to have them check your car seat. Most manufacturers have a help line to call with any questions. Another option is to attend your local car seat clinic for more guidance and help.
- Car seats do have a life-span, so be sure to check the manufacturers date.
- Register your car seat with your manufacturer to get recall notices.
- Consider how big your car is: An SUV or minivan has room so you can buy a wider seat, but if you drive a hatch/sedan you might think of a more contoured/slim base.
For further information regarding child safety laws and regulations, please visit Transport Canada at: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/motorvehiclesafety/safedrivers-childsafety-index-53.htm