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Buying a Car Seat

Use this list to help you choose the right seat for you, your child and your vehicle.

Check for these things in the store:

  • A car seat that meets the needs of your child - height, weight, rear/forward-facing
  • A CMVSS safety standards sticker
  • Date of manufacture - make sure it is recent
  • Manufacturer’s instructions and warranty card
  • 5-point harness (includes harness straps that go over thighs)
  • A harness that is easy to tighten and loosen
  • Several harness slot positions so they can be adjusted for your growing child
  • Harness slot positions that are easy to change
  • Harness webbing that does not twist easily

For infant only, rear-facing seats
(recommended for newborns - it is portable and provides the best fit)

  • At least 2 positions for the crotch strap
  • Carrying handle is easy to use

For forward-facing seats

  • A tether strap that is easy to tighten

TIP: Not all seats will fit all vehicles. When you purchase the seat, make sure you can return it.

Try Before You Buy!

Read the car seat manufacturer’s instructions…then check these things in the vehicle:

  • 80% of the base of the car seat rests on the vehicle seat
  • Seat belt can be threaded through the car seat easily
  • Seat belt can be tightened to secure the car seat in the vehicle
  • Universal Anchorage System (UAS) is easy to use and tighten (car seats/vehicles manufactured since 2002)

For rear-facing seats

  • The car seat can be reclined to a 45° angle
  • With the car seat in place, there is enough room for the driver and front seat passenger (at least 25 cm from airbag)

For forward-facing seats

  • Tether strap attaches to the anchor behind the car seat

TIP: 3-in-1 car seats (can be used as rear-forward-booster seats) may not be the best buy:

  • Many vehicles do not have enough room for these seats when rear facing.
  • Although they are for use up to booster age, the expiry date may occur before the child reaches that size.
  • These seat backs are shorter than high-back boosters.
  • The best choice may be to buy an infant-only seat and then a convertible seat that can be used rear and forward facing.
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