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The Ultimate Guide to Car Seats

car seat safety

Are you unsure of the type of car seat to buy for your child? Do you know how long they have to keep using car seats and at what age it’s safe for a child to stop using one? This guide will tell you everything you need to know about choosing a safe car seat for your child.

Rear-Facing Car Seats

Who: Infants weighing less than 22 lbs should always ride in a rear-facing seat.

How: Installation details depend on your car and your car seat. The middle spot is the best one, but it isn’t always practical if you have multiple children or if your car seat install better in a different spot.

Why: Rear-facing car seats are safe in a collision because of the way they distribute the weight of a child in impact, protecting the head and spine. Due to this, it’s recommended to take your time transitioning to a front-facing seat for as long as possible. The earliest recommended time is once children can walk unassisted, are at least a year old, and weighs over 20 lbs. There are rear-facing toddler seats that later convert to front facing seats.

Front-Facing Car Seats

Who: Toddlers 20-40 lbs with some carseats up to 65 lbs.

How: Follow the seat and car manufacturer’s guidelines. Seats should be attached to an anchor point in the car and a universal anchoring system or a seat belt that locks, depending on what your vehicle is equipped with. Your car seat shouldn’t budge more than an inch in any direction after it has been installed.

Why: Children who have outgrown the height and weight requirements of their rear-facing seat. This harnessed seat should protect them through their preschool years.

Booster Seats

Who: Children who have outgrown their front-facing car seats and are mature enough. Children need to be able to sit properly in this seat.

How: Follow the seat and car manufacturer’s guidelines. Seats should be used with a seat belt. Your car seat shouldn’t budge more than an inch in any direction after it has been installed.

Why: Booster seats provide support for a child who is too short for the seatbelt’s proper support. If they are feeling self-conscious because their friends no longer use a booster seat, then a backless booster may help. Stick with this option until your child is large enough to sit unassisted.

Seat belts

Who: Children about 8 years old, 80 lbs, or 4 foot 9 inches, they are deemed able to move out of a booster seat. Height should really be the guideline to follow as opposed to age in order to keep children safest.

How: Children should be able to sit up in the back seat with their knees bent 90 degrees. The shoulder strap should sit on the collarbone and should not push against the child’s neck or fact. It should also always be used, rather than tucked behind the child.

Why: The front seat airbags can hurt children. The safest spot for them is always in the back seat. Children should not sit in the front seat until they are at least 12 years of age.

For more information about driving safety, car seats, and Ontario’s laws regarding their use, visit the Ministry of Transportation’s website.

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