When used correctly, car seats and booster seats save lives and reduce injuries. Children can get hurt if their car seats or booster seats are not used properly. Here are some tips on how to choose or buy the right car seat or booster seat for your child.
There are 3 basic types or stages of car seats for children:
Many seats combine more than one stage. It is safest to keep your child in each stage for as long as possible. The rear-facing position is the safest, so don’t rush to have your child use a forward-facing car seat. Check the
Car Seat Guidelines in Alberta for more information.
Buy your car seat in Canada.
National Safety Mark sticker
All safety seats sold and used in Canada must have a National Safety Mark. The sticker is found on the side or bottom of the car seat. Car seats bought in the United States or another country will not have a National Safety Mark sticker and can’t be used here. Less expensive seats meet the same safety standards as higher priced seats.
Buy a seat that fits your child with room to grow
The manufacturer's instructions and labels on the car seat or booster seat state the weight and height of children that the seat will protect. Make sure your child’s weight and height are within these limits, with room to grow.
Try the car seat
Place your child in the car seat and buckle them up. If your baby is not born yet, use a doll or teddy bear. Adjust the harness. If you find it hard to adjust, try a different car seat. Since car seats come in many sizes, not all car seats fit in all vehicles. Ask to try the car seat in your vehicle before you buy it. The best car seat for you and your child is one that fits in your vehicle, and that you can and will use correctly every time.
Borrowing or buying a used car seat
Buying a used car seat is not a good idea. Used seats may be missing parts, damaged, recalled, or expired, and may not meet current safety standards. If you’re thinking about borrowing a car seat, make sure you find out its history. Any seat involved in a crash should be replaced. There may be no signs of damage, but small cracks or weakened areas can make the car seat unsafe.
Check for recalls
Call the manufacturer, or check their website, with the seat name, model number, and date of manufacture, to find out if your safety seat has been recalled. Go to the
Transport Canada website to find out about recalls.
After you buy a seat, check for how to
use it correctly.
If you still have questions call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: October 2, 2019
Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services
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