Rearfacing Child Restraints
Including Infant Only Seats
& Rearfacing Combinations

  • Ensure the Infant Only child seat base, or child restraint is properly installed at the correct angle in accordance to the angle indicator or in accordance with the manual. Especially in the case of newborns, a proper angle is important to ensure the child is obtaining proper oxygen levels. Toddlers can sometimes be placed at a more upright position, dependent on the car seat and installation.
  • Ensure this installation is secure with less then one inch of movement at the belt path. Do not test for movement at the back or head area of the seat, it is common and normal for movement here.
  • Ensure proper strap placement - at or below the shoulders for all  children, in any rearfacing seat, at any age!
  • Ensure the straps on the child restraint are tight, by removing slack at the hips before tightening, and doing to "pinch test" (pinching the straps at the collarbone area).
  • Ensure the straps are not twisted and lay flat against the child and they have their bottom all the way back in the seat.
  • Do not use bulky clothing or bunting bags that go behind the child.
  • Do not use aftermarket or third party products, it could effect the way your child restraint works in a collision. Always use what came with or what was approved for use with your specific seat as approved by the manufacturer!
  • Keep a child rearfacing as long as possible, it is the safest way for the child to travel as long as they are within the limits of the seat! Recommendation, and mandatory on some car seats, is at least 2 years old, but longer is better if you can.
Forward Facing Child Restraints
Including Forward Facing Combinations
& Forward Facing Only/Harness to Boosters

  • Ensure the child restraint is properly installed. There should be less then one inch of movement at the belt path.
  • Always ensure the top tether anchor is attached, at a proper anchor point. Not only is this important to prevent forward head excursion but it is also law in Canada for all forward facing seats.
  • Do not use the seat belt and low anchorage system unless the vehicle and child restraint allow it!
  • Do not use your lower anchorage system beyond 65 pounds combined weight of the child and restraint. It will state in your manual, and sometimes on the seat itself, when this is, as if varies by seat. If you are unsure, contact your manufacturer!
  • Straps should be coming from at or above your child's shoulder in all forward facing child restraints.
  • Do not use bulky clothing such as winter snow suits or oversized sweaters.
  • Do not use aftermarket or third party products with your child restraint. Use only manufacturer approved products.
  • Ensure the straps are flat and not twisted.
  • It is important to check your manual regarding outgrowing limits of the seat. Familiarize yourself with the weight, and height limits of each stage. Once your child has reached either stage they have outgrown this seat and a new one is needed, either harnessed or a booster seat depending on the child and situation must be used.

Booster Seats
Including Harness to Boosters
& Dedicated Booster Seats

  • Make sure your child properly fits in the booster seat; that the lap belt is across the hip/thigh area, the shoulder strap is across the chest and on the shoulder and they are within the weight and height and age limits of the seat.
  • Do not rush your child to a booster seat as soon as they reach the minimums. They may not be mature enough physically or mentally.
  • No child under the age of 4 years old should be in a booster seat, ideally a child should remain harnessed until atleast the age of 5 to the age of 7 depending on the child's size and maturity.
  • Read and familiarize yourself with the manual. Even booster seats have rules, some allow use of lower anchorage systems where others prohibit it, and some require head rests on the vehicle while others do not.
  • Do not rush out of the booster seat either! Just because a child is of legal age, weight or height, does not mean they are safer out of the booster seat. A booster is designed to boost a child up and properly place a child so they fit the adult belt. Some children are not really ready at age 8, 9 or may need a booster until age10-12! 
  • When using a low back booster, the vehicle needs to have head support to the top of the child's ears.
  • All booster seats need to have both a lap and shoulder belt in the desired location.

Adult Seat Belt
"5 Steppers"

  • "5 Stepper" means a child who now fits an adult seat belt without aid of a booster seat. This often happens between age 10 and 13.
  • A child is ready to be out of a booster seat when they fit the belt properly in all vehicles. Not every vehicle has the same belt geometry, and the belt does not fit the same all the time. Try your child in several vehicles before making a choice to permanently move them out of a booster. They may still need it on some instances.
  • The vehicle should have adequate head support, to the top of the child's ears, and both a lap and shoulder belt.
  •  The shoulder strap should be across the chest, and on the shoulder making contact at the top. 
  • The lap belt should be across the hips or thighs, not up on the abdomen.
  • The child's knees should belt freely over the edge of the seat, with their bottom all the way a the back of the seat.
  • Ideally, a child's feet should be flat on the floor of the vehicle as well.
  • Many booster seats serve children up to 120 pounds and even up to 57"-60" in height. Don't rush out of the booster seat if they fit the adult belt better with it. IF you do not want a large booster seat, or your child is uncomfortable or embarrassed because they are older and still require one, look at alternatives such as low back boosters that have low profiles or seat belt adjuster booster seat such as an Incognito.

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  • Child restraints expire! Do not use a child restraint after the expiration date, it could fail in a collision and cause serious injury to your child.
  • Do not use a child restraint after it's been in a vehicle in a collision, even if it was unoccupied at the time, or is a booster seat. If you're unsure if it qualifies as a collision, speak to the car seat manufacturer themselves for clarification!
  • Always read your manual and familiarize with your specific restraint system before use, and reference back to it if you have questions or are unsure.
  • Do not rush to the next stage! very child is different and no two children will meet minimums or outgrow the seat at the same time. Keep them in each stage until they have reached the limits and are ready to move up.
  • READ THE MANUAL! Every child restraint and every vehicle has different rules and limits, even different models of the same child restraint or different year or trim level of the same vehicle can be different.
  • Children are safest in the back seat! Rearfacing, forward facing and booster seats should not be in a front seat of a vehicle, and it may even be illegal in some instances or prohibited by the vehicle or child restraint itself. Air bags are designed for adults and could be life threatening to a young child.