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It’s important, for a child’s safety, to understand the various rules and regulations that are set in place by the government of Ontario regarding the recommended and proper uses of child car seats. Choosing the proper child car seat depends on a number of factors and depends mainly on the child’s weight but is also affected by the child’s height. The following are the regulations regarding child car seats in Ontario.

What to Look For – When purchasing a child car seat in Canada, it is important to look for the National Safety Mark label that should be attached to the seat. This label shows that the seat follows all of the regulations set out in Canada and follows all of the standards for safety and is legal to use in Canada. It is important to note that every childcare seat or booster seat has an expiry date and a ‘best before’ date. Seats that are past the ‘best before’ date should not be used because they have expired.

Child Car Seats for Infants – Infants and newborns require special protection when being transported in any vehicle. If there is a collision, a properly installed, rear-facing child car seat can dramatically reduce the child’s chance of injury.

Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act requires that children use a rear-facing child car seat until the child weighs 9 kg (20 lbs). Each child car seat manufacturer has a recommended maximum weight and height limit. Follow these recommendations closely and make changes when the child outgrows the seat.

Child Car Seats for Toddlers – Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act allows children who weigh 9 kg (20 lbs) to 18 kg (40 lbs) to use either a forward-facing or a rear-facing child car seat as long as the seat manufacturer recommends it for that particular use. It is best to use a forward-facing child car seat up until the weight and height maximums are reached, as stated by the manufacturer.

A forward-facing child car seat uses a tether strap that prevents the child from moving forward during a collision. This reduces injury during a collision. The manufacturer recommends the exact way to use the tether strap and by following the recommendations, potential injury is minimized.

Booster Seats – Booster seats are used to raise children so that adult seat belts protect them better. A booster seat protects a child 3-1/2 times better than a seat belt alone.

Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act requires that children weighing 18 kg (40 lbs) to 36 kg (80 lbs), standing less than 145 cm (4 ft. 9 in.) tall and who are less than 8 years of age, use a booster seat. For safety, it is best to continue to use booster seats for as long as the manufacturer recommends, following the recommended height and weight limits.

For more information about the current rules and regulations concerning child car seats, please refer to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act.

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