Seat Belt
A lap/shoulder seat belt protects a child
who fits the adult seat belt correctly (see
5-Step Test).
Most children are at least 4’9” (145 cm) tall
before they can safely use the adult seat
belt.
5-Step Test
When buckled with a lap/shoulder belt:
1. Back: against the vehicle
seat, no slouching
2. Knees: bent comfortably
over the edge of the seat
3. Lap belt: low on the child’s
hips, touching the thighs,
never on the belly
4. Shoulder belt: touching the
chest and crossing between
the child’s neck and shoulder
5. Stay seated: able to hold this
position the entire ride
A child may pass all 5 steps to use a seat
belt in one car but still need to use a
booster seat in another vehicle.
Make sure your child has support behind
the head to the tops of their ears.
Your child is safest in the back seat until
they are 13 years old.
© 2017 CPSAC; revised 1-Nov-2017
General
Always read and follow the directions for your car seat or
booster seat. If you no longer have the manual, contact
the manufacturer for a copy.
Check the car seat, seat belt, and airbag sections of your
vehicle manual.
Is your seat safe to use?
Check that your seat is approved for use in Canada.
Look for the National Safety Mark (circle with a maple
leaf) on your seat.
• After a collision: A seat involved in a crash may no
longer be safe to use.
• Seat history: If you do not know the history of the seat,
it may not be safe to use.
• Expiry: Check the expiration date of your seat. Contact
the manufacturer if you are unsure.
• Recall: Check Transport Canada’s website to find out if
your seat has been recalled.
CAR SEAT INSTALLATION
Check that you’re using the correct belt path for rear or
forward facing.
UAS (lower anchors)
• Location: Check your vehicle manual to find out where
you can use the lower anchors in your vehicle. The
lower anchors often cannot be used in the centre.
• Weight: Check your vehicle manual and your car seat
manual to find out what the weight limit is for installing
with lower anchors.
CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY
ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
The Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada
(CPSAC) is a national, not-for-profit corporation. Our
mission is to provide Canadians with the skills and
knowledge to safely transport children.
CPSAC provides training for those who work in health
care, injury prevention, emergency response, law
enforcement, family resource, social work, childcare,
retail, as well as for parents, caregivers, and those with
an interest in child passenger safety. Members promote
child passenger safety through education, advocacy,
and training.
Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death
from unintentional injury of children, and correctly
choosing, installing, and using a car seat or booster
seat provides the best protection for your child in the
car.
This brochure is not intended to replace a car seat,
booster seat, or vehicle manual, and focuses on best
practice. Consult provincial or territorial law for specifics
for your area.
Seat belt:
The seat belt must lock in some way. Check in your
vehicle manual and car seat manual for directions. Some
seats have built-in lock-offs for use with the seat belt.
The best car seat is the one that fits your child,
your budget, and your vehicle, and that you will use
properly every time.
OTHER
• Cleaning: Check your car seat manual for washing
instructions; do not soak the harness.
• Winter clothing: Use thin, warm layers (like fleece) and
cover with blankets after buckling. Bulky clothing can
affect your child’s safety.
• Projectiles: Loose objects can move around in a crash.
Secure any loose items.
• All passengers and pets should be buckled or secured.
• Contact the manufacturer with questions or for support.
• Contact a local Child Passenger Safety Technician
(CPST) for a seat check: http://www.cpsac.org/
findatech/
For local assistance, contact:
www.cpsac.org
FIND US ON:
Rear-Facing Seat
Use a rear-facing only seat or a convertible
seat.
Children are safest using a rear-facing seat for
as long as they are within the limits of the seat.
Harness
• At or below shoulder level
• Tight: cannot pinch a horizontal
fold at the collarbone
• Chest clip at armpit level
• No unregulated products (head
positioners, bunting bags,
harness covers, etc); these can
affect your child’s safety.
Seat
• Never install a rear-facing seat
in front of an active airbag.
• Always follow the recline angle
indicator for your seat; recline
fully for a newborn.
• Install with either UAS or seat belt
• 1” (2.5 cm) or less of movement at the belt
path
• Check your manual to see how much
overhang of the car seat is
allowed.
• For a rear-facing only seat,
check where the handle
must be.
Child Fit
• It is safe for the child’s legs to touch the back
of the seat.
• The seat is outgrown when the child reaches
the height, weight, or fit limits for the seat.
• Many rear-facing seats are outgrown when the
top of the child’s head is 1” below the top of
the car seat.
Forward-Facing Seat
Use a forward-facing seat
with a harness: a convertible
or combination seat.
A forward-facing seat
protects a child who has
outgrown their rear-facing
convertible seat.
Keep your child in a 5-point harness until they
weigh at least 40 lbs (18 kg) and have the
maturity to sit correctly in a booster.
Harness
• At or above shoulder level
• Tight: cannot pinch a horizontal fold at the
collarbone
• Chest clip at armpit level
Seat
• Install with either UAS or
seat belt
• 1” (2.5 cm) or less of
movement at the belt path
• Check your manual to see
how much overhang of the car seat is allowed.
• Always attach the top tether to an approved
anchor point in the vehicle.
Child Fit
• The seat is outgrown when the child reaches
the height, weight, or fit limits for the seat.
• Many forward-facing seats are outgrown when
the harness straps are no longer at or above
the child’s shoulders.
• If your child has outgrown
their seat by height or
weight but is not yet ready
for a booster seat, you will
need a seat with a harness
that will support a taller,
heavier child.
Booster Seat
Use a high-back booster seat or a backless booster
seat together with a lap and shoulder seat belt.
A booster seat protects a child who is at least 40 lbs
(18 kg) and has the maturity to sit correctly in a
booster seat.
Keep your child in a booster seat until they fit
correctly in the adult seat belt (see 5-Step Test).
Belt Fit
• Lap belt: low on the child’s hips,
touching the thighs, never on
the belly
• Shoulder belt: touching the
chest and crossing between the
child’s neck and shoulder
• A booster seat must always be
used with a lap/shoulder belt
and never with a lap-only belt.
• If the shoulder belt does not
cross between the child’s neck
and shoulder, use a booster seat that has a
shoulder belt guide.
Seat
• The child must have head support to the tops of
the ears, either from the vehicle head rest or from
a high-back booster, or both.
• Check your manual to see how much overhang of
the booster seat is allowed.
• Check your manual to see how much of a gap
there can be behind the booster seat.
• Check that the lap/shoulder belt is routed correctly.
Child Fit
• A high-back booster seat can provide better belt fit,
comfort, and support than a backless booster seat.
• In order to use a booster seat safely the child must
be correctly positioned at all times, even when
sleeping.
• The seat is outgrown when the child reaches the
height, weight, or fit limits for the seat.
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