Then you’ve likely got questions… Anything from “When should they start eating solids?” to “When are they going to start walking and talking?”
But one of the most important questions you will likely ask yourself is, “Which car seat do I choose and when?”
1. What type of seat should I choose for my child?
The age and size of your child will dictate the type of seat you need. Because your child is always growing, over time you will need purchase more than one type of seat to accommodate them.
There are four types of child seating and restraint systems:
- Infants: need to sit in rear-facing car seats until they are at least 12 months old and over 9 kilograms (20 pounds).
- Toddlers: need to sit in forward-facing car seats when the child is at least a year old and over 9 kilograms (20 pounds). They should continue to be buckled into this type of seat until they are 18 kilograms (40 pounds).
- Under 9 years old: need to be in booster seats with seat belts when the child is under nine years of age or until they have reached the height of 145 cm (4’9″) tall.
- Youth: need a properly adjusted seat belt. It’s the last stage for anyone over 9 years age.
2. Does the seat have to meet Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards?
Yes. Transport Canada says that child and infant restraint systems, booster cushions, restraint systems for disabled persons and restraint systems for infants with special need must be clearly labelled to indicate that they comply with the Canadian standards in effect at the time of manufacture.
3. What about expiry dates?
All children’s car seats and booster seats sold in Canada have an expiry or useful life date on them, even though this is not required by regulation. Manufacturers do this to inform buyers of the potential risks of using car seats and booster seats that may be missing important parts, labels or instructions or have unknown history. Beyond this date, the car seat should be discarded rather than donated to a charitable organization, second hand store, or given to friends or relatives.
4. What is the proper position for a car seat?
The safest position for your baby or child is in the back, middle seat of the vehicle.
- Do not place your child’s car seat in the front seat of any vehicle with a passenger side air bag that cannot be turned off.
- Do not allow a child younger than age 13 to sit in the front seat of any vehicle.
- Make sure a rear-facing seat is reclined at a 45 degree angle so your infant’s head does not flop forward.
- Hearing a child cry can be hard, but please do not take your child out of his or her seat while the car is moving. If your child needs attention, stop the car, take the child out of the seat, take care of his or her needs, and put him or her back into the seat before the car starts moving again.
5. What type of attachment system should I use?
Vehicles manufactured since September 2002 come equipped with a universal anchorage system (sometimes called a LATCH or Lower Anchor and Tether for Child safety system). This feature allows parents to secure the car seat directly to a specialized anchor rather than use the seat belt for security. If your car predates the attachment system, use the vehicles seat belt to secure the base of the car seat.
So, will your child ever stop sucking their thumb or eating only noodles? We aren’t the experts on that, but chances are pretty good they will. Will you know what to look for in a car seat from here on out? We hope so! Because regulations change, we encourage you to check with Transport Canada for updates. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, let us know in the comments section below and we will happy to help find the answer. Happy trails!