The law requires that children be properly secured in a seat adapted to their weight and height until they are able to use a seat belt alone.
The law requires that children be secured in a child safety seat that is appropriate for their weight and height until they are 145 cm tall or 9 years old.
Depending on the child's weight and height, this seat should be either a rear-facing seat, a front-facing seat or a booster seat. See the page Choosing and Using the right seat at the right time to find out more.
Children aged 12 or younger: 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.
In addition to putting a child's life in danger, you are committing an offence under the Highway Safety Code and are liable to:
This will help prevent children from sustaining serious injuries in the event of sudden braking or a collision, because the bones in the shoulders and hips are those best able to absorb the impact.
Children whose legs are too short will tend to slide under the seat belt to get comfortable. In that position, the seat belt presses against their necks and stomachs, which could lead to serious injuries to the spine or internal organs in the event of an accident.
They should continue to use a booster seat suited to their weight and height, even if they are 145 cm tall or 9 years old.
Car seats should never be installed on the front passenger seat. Children aged 12 or younger should sit in the vehicle's back seat.
Airbags are proven, effective safety devices. However, deployment of the front airbag may result in injuries if a person is sitting too close to it. Children, regardless of whether they are in a car seat, are at risk of being in the front airbag’s deployment zone.
If you have no choice but to place a child in the front seat (in a car seat or otherwise), you must:
If a child's winter coat has not been sufficiently compressed, the straps will not be tight enough and will not restrain the child effectively in the event of a collision. The child could be hurt or thrown from the seat.
Each time you put your child in a car seat, make sure that your child is buckled in snugly by inserting a finger between the chest and the straps. If you have difficulty pushing your finger through, the straps are tight enough.
Check the adjustment at the hips and make sure that your child's coat doesn't bunch under the straps or behind his or her back.
Straps should be snug, in both warm and cold weather!
Some car seat manufacturers have specific requirements regarding winter coats. Comply with these requirements. Whatever the season, make sure you use the proper technique by checking the owner's manual.
Last update: April 11, 2021