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Carseat Shopping Guide by Chad Peterson

More and more parents realize that the significance of choosing a safe carseat for their child. According to research, Child seats, when used correctly, reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71%, and the risk of serious injury by 67%. There are different types of car seats dependent upon the age and weight of the child.

Rear-facing Infant Carseat:

Babies have weak neck and back muscles that need extra support when traveling in a vehicle. A rear-facing infant seat will support your baby’s head and neck in a sudden stop or a crash. Be sure you use a rear-facing infant seat that fits your baby’s weight and height. Most of the rear-facing can hold up to 9kg (20lb) or 10kg (22 lb). some of the models can hold up to more. Weight limits are listed on the seat and in the instruction manual. When your baby reaches the seat’s limits, you’ll need to switch to a convertible car seat in order to keep the baby in rear-facing at least until his/her first birthday.

Convertible Carseat:

Lot of babies is quickly grown out of their infant carseat; however, they are not quite ready for the forward-facing carseat. The convertible carseat allows the babies continuing in the rear-facing position up to 14kg (30 lb). It also has the forward-facing option for next stage. Babies who are over 9kg (20lb) and 1 year can be switch to forward-facing position; the forward-facing seat can be used up to 18kg (40lb)  or 22kg (48lb). Some models can be held up to 30kg (65 lb).

Convertible Booster:

The convertible booster is the combination of forward-facing seat and booster seat. If your toddler is not ready for a booster and he/she is growing out of the current carseat, the convertible booster will be your solution.

Boosters:

When your child reaches the weight and height limits of the harness system of the convertible or front-facing-only seat, it’s time to use the booster seat for your child. Boosters raise the child up in the vehicle seat to allow the safety belt to pass correctly across their sternum (not their neck) and low across the child’s upper thigh (not their abdomen). There are basically 2 types of boosters: high back and backless. The child needs to at least 18kg (40 lbs) to be able to use a booster.

All in one Carseat:

The all in one carseat features rear-facing, forward-facing and booster. It normally holds children from 5 to 80 lbs. it has better value from economical perspective.

Tips before buying a carseat:

  • Weigh your baby
  • Measure your baby’s height or length
  • Check the label to be sure the seat will fit your baby’s weight and height.

In conclusion, the most suitable carseat should be the one that fit your child, your vehicle and your budget. In Canada, we are stricter for child carseat standards compare to lot of other countries. Make sure to purchase the carseat that meet the must meet Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) as set by Transport Canada. Seats bought in other countries, including the United States, may not meet strict Canadian standards. It is against the law to use one that does not meet Canadian standards. Look for the National Safety Mark.

For additional information on child restraints or if you suspect a safety-related defect with your child car seat, contact Transport Canada:
Information Centre: 1-800-333-0371
E-mail: RoadSafetyWebmail@tc.gc.ca
Web Site: www.tc.gc.ca/roadsafety

This article was published on Saturday 14 February, 2009.

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