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Booster Seats and Child Car Seats

Why are Child Car Seats and Booster Seats Important?

  • In 2013, more than 70 children under the age of 14 were killed and more than 8,900 were injured in car crashes in Canada. (Canadian Motor Vehicle Traffic Collision Statistics, 2013)
  • Correctly using a child car seat or a booster seat is one of the best steps you can take to protect your child in a crash.
Your child’s safety is a priority.  Knowing which car seat to use at each stage of your child’s development, however, can be confusing. The most important thing to remember is to not rush your child from one car seat stage to the next. Children should remain in their current car seat stage, whether it’s a rear-facing, forward-facing or booster seat, until they reach its weight and height limits. This information can be found in the manual or on the car seat itself.

Multi-stage seats can extend the use of a car seat and can provide the safety your child needs at each stage of their development.


 

Booster Seat New Law
Booster Seat Legislation Bookmark

Child Car Seats and Booster seats - It's the Law!

As of August 8th, 2013 a law took effect in Manitoba that makes it compulsory for older children travelling in motor vehicles to use booster seats. For your child’s safety, provincial law requires children to remain in booster seats until they are at least 145 cm (4’9”) tall, 36 kg (80 lb.) OR 9 years old. Drivers are responsible for ensuring that child passengers are properly seated and restrained in child car seats, seatbelts and now booster seats.

**Effective July 1, 2013, child restraining devices used in vehicles, such as car seats and booster seats, are exempt from provincial sales tax.

In the event of a crash, research shows that booster seats protect children from serious injury by more than 60 per cent. Proper installation and use of a booster seat are important. For more information call 1-888-767-7640 or visit the Road Safety section at mpi.mb.ca.

 

 


Proper placement and installation are important

Unfortunately, 80 per cent of child car seats are used incorrectly. Always refer to your car seat and vehicle owner’s manuals – and take advantage of one of Manitoba Public Insurance’s free car seat inspections. All technicians are nationally certified through St. John Ambulance. Visit mpi.mb.ca for a list of upcoming car seat inspections.

Important tips about car seats

  • Check the expiry date before purchasing. An expired car seat may not protect your child because over time the plastic may crack, reducing its ability to withstand a crash. Most seats are stamped with the expiry date on the back or bottom of the seat. If you can’t find the date, contact the car seat manufacturer. National Safety
  • Buy your car seat in Canada to ensure it meets Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Look for the National Safety mark (pictured)
  • Check if the car seat has been recalled on Transport Canada’s website at tc.gc.ca.
  • Replace a car seat that’s been in a collision. The impact from a crash can cause damage to a seat and may not provide adequate protection in a future collision.
  • Child car seats and booster seats are exempt from provincial sales tax.

Provincial law requires placing children in the appropriate car seat until they are at least 145 cm (4’ 9”), 36 kg (80 lb.) or nine years old.


Stage 1: Rear-facing infant seats

Stage 1:  Rear-facing infant seatsUse a rear-facing seat from birth until your baby reaches the maximum weight and height limits listed in the car seat manual. Some car seats are made for children up to 20 kg (45 lb.). 

Rear-facing seats offer the best protection because they distribute the impact of a collision along the back of the car seat, which protects your baby's fragile head and neck.

Installation

  • The safest position for a car seat is the vehicle’s rear middle seat. If you have more than one child, place the youngest in the middle as their smaller bodies are not strong enough to withstand the impact of a crash.
  • Use a seatbelt or Universal Anchorage System (UAS) to install the seat. Do not use both.
  • Check the tension where the UAS or seatbelt is routed through the car seat. You should not be able to move it more than one inch in any direction.
  • At least 80 per cent of the infant car seat must be in contact with the vehicle seat.
  • Check the level indicators to ensure the infant car seat is at a 45 degree angle.

Check the fit

  • The harness straps should be in the slot that is level with or below your child’s shoulders and fit snugly so you can fit only one finger between your baby’s collarbone and the straps. The straps should lay flat.
  • The straps should be at or below the shoulders to prevent your baby from sliding out of the car seat.
  • The chest clip should be at armpit level.

Stage 2: Forward-facing child seats

Stage 2:  Forward-facing child seatsOnce your child reaches the weight and height limits of their rear-facing seat, they can move into a forward-facing seat. Look for a forward-facing seat that will meet the weight and height requirements of your child for as long as possible. Some seats are made for children up to 30 kg (65 lb.).

The harness straps in a forward-facing seat are designed so the impact is taken where your child’s body is strongest – the shoulders and chest, and then directed down to the hips.

Installation

  • The safest position for a car seat is the vehicle’s rear middle seat. If you have more than one child, place the youngest in the middle, as their smaller bodies are not strong enough to withstand the impact of a crash.
  • The tether strap must always be used to secure the top of the car seat to the vehicle.
  • Use a seatbelt or UAS to install the seat. Do not use both.
  • Check the tension where the seatbelt or UAS is routed through the car seat. You should not be able to move the car seat more than one inch in any direction.

Check the fit

  • The harness straps should be in the slot that is level with or above your child’s shoulders and fit snugly so that you can fit only one finger between your child’s chest and the straps. The straps should lay flat.
  • The middle of your child’s ears should not come past the top of the seat.
  • The chest clip should be at armpit level.

Stage 3: Booster seats

Stage 3: Booster seatsOnce your child reaches the weight and height limits of their forward-facing seat, they can move into a booster seat. Because weight limits can vary among forward-facing seats (some can accommodate children up to 30 kg or 65 lb.), please check the manual for the weight limits of your specific car seat.

Provincial law requires children to remain in booster seats until they are at least 145 cm (4’ 9”), 36 kg (80 lb.) or nine years old.

Without a booster seat, a seatbelt rides too high on a child's stomach and neck and can cause serious injuries. Research shows that booster seats protect children from serious injury by more than 60 per cent.

How to choose a booster seat

If your vehicle does not have a head restraint, choose one of the following:

  • A high-back booster seat that provides head and neck support. Some models convert from a forward-facing seat with a harness to a high-back booster seat.
  • An adjustable booster seat that provides adjustable head and neck support as your child grows.

If your vehicle has a head restraint, choose one of the following:

  • a fixed high-back booster seat
  • a height-adjustable high-back booster seat
  • a simple/backless booster seat

Installation

  • The safest position for a car seat is the vehicle’s rear middle seat. If you have more than one child, place the youngest in the middle, as their smaller bodies are not strong enough to withstand the impact of a crash.
  • Keep an empty booster seat buckled up to prevent it from moving and hitting you in a sudden stop or crash. 

Check the fit

  • The shoulder strap should fit over the shoulder and across your child’s chest.
  • The lap belt should sit snug on their hips.
  • The middle of your child’s ears should not come past the top of the vehicle’s head restraint. The head restraint ensures your child has adequate head and neck protection in a collision.
  • The bend of your child’s knees should be in line with the vehicle seat.
  • Never use just a lap belt to secure a child in a booster seat. Always use a shoulder and lap belt.
  • Never allow your child to place the shoulder belt under their arm or behind their back as this can cause serious injury.

Stage 4: Seatbelts

Stage 4:  SeatbeltsFor your child’s safety, provincial law requires children to remain in booster seats until they are at least 145 cm (4’ 9”), 36 kg (80 lb.) or nine years old.

It’s important not to rush to using a seatbelt alone because it’s not designed for a child – the shoulder strap rides too high and could cause serious injuries.

Check the fit

  • Sitting up straight, the seatbelt should fit across your child’s shoulder and chest and sit low across the hips.
  • The middle of your child’s ears should not come past the top of the vehicle’s head restraint. Adjust the head restraint to ensure your child has adequate head and neck protection in a collision.
  • The bend of your child’s knees should be in line with the vehicle seat.
  • Never allow your child to place the shoulder belt under their arm or behind their back as this can cause serious injury.

Quick reference guide & important links

Use this chart to find out which car seat is best for your child.


Car seat stage


Guidelines

  1. Rear-facing

Use a rear-facing car seat from birth until your baby reaches the weight and height limits. Some seats are made for children up to 20 kg (45 lb.).

  1. Forward-facing

Use a forward-facing car seat until your child reaches the maximum weight and height limits. Some seats are made for children up to 30 kg (65 lb.).

  1. Booster seat

Use a booster seat once your child reaches the maximum weight listed on your forward-facing car seat.

  1. Seatbelt

Use a seatbelt only when your child is more than 145 cm (4’ 9”), 36 kg (80 lb.) or nine years old.

 

Child Car Seats: Securing your precious cargo

Child Car Seats: Securing your precious cargo brochure

For more information about child car seats, call Manitoba Public Insurance at:

In Winnipeg: 204-985-8737
Outside Winnipeg: 1-888-767-7640

Or visit the road safety section of the Manitoba Public Insurance website: http://www.mpi.mb.ca/en/Rd-Safety/Car-Seats/Pages/ChildCarSeat.aspx