Behaviours – Child Safety Seats

Infant Seats, Child Seats and Booster Seats

Child safety involves choosing a car seat that is adapted to a child's weight and height, and installing it properly. Here is everything you need to know about infant seats, child seats, booster seats and seat belts. 

Infant Seats, Child Seats and Booster Seats—What's the Difference?

Useful information

Child safety seats: make an appointment to have your car seat inspected

Make an appointment with a member of the Child car seat verification network. Inspections are free of charge.

Infant seats—From birth until infants weigh at least 10 kg (22 lb)

Before purchasing an infant seat

It is important to consider the weight and height limits specified by the manufacturer, as well as ease of use. A child seat that is easy to use has a better chance of being used properly.

Before purchasing an infant seat, it is also important to consult your vehicle owner's manual, consider the space available on the back seat, and check how to install an infant seat in your vehicle.

Installing an infant seat

  1. The back seat's position must allow the infant seat to be reclined about a 45-degree angle.
  2. You can adjust the recline angle using the recline mechanism on the removable base.
  3. If the infant seat does not have a recline mechanism, or if the seat is used without a detachable base, you can place a rolled-up towel or foam noodle under the seat.
  4. These accessories should be installed where the vehicle seat's backrest meets the seat cushion.

Installing an infant seat with a detachable base

  1. First attach the base to the vehicle's seat using the universal anchorage system (UAS) or the seat belt.
  2. Tighten the UAS or the seat belt and make sure there is no slack. The seat or base should not move forward or backward or allow more than 2.5 cm of side-to-side movement at the attachment points.
  3. You can use a locking clip to adjust the length of the 3-point seat belt.
  4. Check the instructions in the vehicle owner's manual.
  5. Caution! If the vehicle's seat belts block only in the event of impact, it is absolutely necessary to install a locking clip.
  6. Secure the seat to the base. Make sure that the seat is always properly secured to the base when you place it in the vehicle. An audible click lets you know that the seat is locked into position.
  7. Leave the carry handle in an upright position or fold it towards the back of the infant seat, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Placing an infant in a seat

  1. Thread the harness straps through the slots located at or slightly below the baby's shoulder level, so that they wrap around the shoulders.
  2. Adjust the straps as closely as possible to the baby's body.
  3. There should be space for no more than one finger between the harness straps and the baby's collarbone.
  4. Insert the harness tongue(s) into the buckle.
  5. Adjust the chest clip at the baby's underarm level.
  6. The baby's feet can safely touch the backrest of the vehicle's seat and the legs may be slightly bent.

Special precautions when using an infant carrier

Infant seats should be used only for travelling with an infant in a vehicle.

Infant seats should never be used as cribs, because they are not safe for sleeping.

During the first few months of life, an infant should not be left sitting in a car seat for trips lasting more than one hour at a time.

If you are making a long car trip, take frequent breaks to change positions and to hold the baby in your arms.

By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

Siège de bébé

Infant seats (in French only)

Transcript :

Infant seats: for how long?

Until the child exceeds the weight or height limit for which the seat was designed. When that happens, you should purchase a child seat that can face the rear of the vehicle. 

Child seats—Not before a child weighs at least 10 kg (22 lb)

Rear-facing installation

Even if your child is older than one year and does not need help walking, seat the child facing the rear. As long as you follow the safety guidelines, rear-facing installation affords better protection for the child's head, neck and chest in the event of an impact. Your child will be safer, even if his or her legs are touching the back of the vehicle seat.

The seat's manual will indicate the height and weight limits for this type of installation. See the “Infant Seats” section to learn how to install your seat facing the rear. 

Forward-facing installation

  1. Secure the tether strap at the top of the car seat to the vehicle's anchorage point installed or supplied by the vehicle manufacturer. The location of the tether anchors is indicated in the vehicle owner's manual.
  2. Secure the child seat with the UAS or the seat belt.
  3. The seat belt should be threaded through the seat slots, according to the manufacturer's instructions, using the slots that are closest to the backrest of the vehicle's back seat.
  4. Buckle the seat belt or attach the UAS and make sure there is no slack.
  5. Tighten the tether strap. Once the seat is installed, it should not move forward or backward or allow more than 2.5 cm of side-to-side movement at the attachment points.
  6. You can use a locking clip to adjust the length of the 3-point seat belt.
  7. Check the instructions in the vehicle owner's manual.
  8. Caution! If the vehicle's seat belts block only in the event of impact, it is absolutely necessary to install a locking clip.

Placing a child in a seat

  1. Thread the harness straps through the slots located at or slightly above the child's shoulder level.
  2. Insert the harness tongues into the buckle.
  3. Adjust the straps as closely as possible to the child's body.
  4. There should be space for no more than one finger between the harness straps and the child's collarbone.
  5. Adjust the chest clip at the child's underarm level.

Child seats: for how long?

It is important to check your vehicle owner's manual to find out the maximum weight that the UAS and the tether strap anchorage point can support. 

If the combined weight of the seat and child surpasses the UAS weight limit, the child seat can usually be secured with the seat belt.

By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

Siège d'auto pour enfant face vers l'avant

Forward-facing child seat (in French only)

Transcript :

Booster seats—Not before 18 kg (40 lb)

The booster seat raises the child to ensure that the seat belt can be correctly adjusted so that it crosses over the middle of the shoulder (collarbone) and over the hips.

You must purchase a booster seat with a built-in backrest and headrest if the back of the vehicle seat is low or does not have a headrest to support the child's head in the event of a rear-end collision. 

Position of the booster seat and child: in the back seat

The back seat is the safest place in a vehicle to place a booster seat.

  1. The vehicle's seat belt (lap and shoulder belts) is all that is required to hold the seat and child in place. No additional straps should be used. However, some booster seats now come equipped with a UAS, which should be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. When the seat belt is buckled, it must cross over the middle of the shoulder (over the collarbone) and over the hips so that the shoulders and hips absorb the impact in the event of an accident. 
  3. Be especially careful when your child is wearing winter clothing! Make sure the seat belt lies across the pelvic bones and on the collarbone. When the seat belt is buckled, it should be snug and have no slack.
Useful information

Never put the seat belt behind the child’s back or under the child's arm

In the event of a collision, the child could be seriously injured.

Booster seats: for how long?

A child no longer needs a booster seat when both of the following conditions are met:

Condition 1—When the child is sitting in the back seat

When the child's back is flat against the seat, his or her legs must be long enough that the child’s knees are bent over the edge of the seat. The child must be able to hold this position comfortably for the entire trip. 

Condition 2—When the seat belt is fastened

The seat belt must cross over the middle of the child's shoulder (over the collarbone) and over the child’s hips. It should not cross over the neck or abdomen.

By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

By clicking on the video, you will change the context of this page.

Siège d'appoint et ceinture de sécurité

Booster seats and seat belts (in French only)

Transcript :

Transitioning to a seat belt

Children who are not tall enough and whose legs are too short to bend over the edge of the seat are not ready to wear a seat belt only. They should therefore continue to use a booster seat that suits their weight and height, even if their sitting height is 63 cm (25 inches) or more. Note that a new Highway Safety Code measure will come into effect in April 2019. Under that new measure, children will be required by law to be at least 145 cm tall or 9 years of age before wearing just a seat belt.

Children who are not tall enough to be properly secured with a seat belt

Will tend to slide under the seat belt to get comfortable and keep their calves from resting on the edge of the seat.

In an accident, this could lead to serious injuries to the spine or internal organs because the seat belt is pressing against the abdomen rather than on the hips.

Useful information

Children aged 12 or younger: always in the back seat

This is the safest place for them, since they are seated as far away as possible from the points of impact in the event of a head-on collision.