Car seats & booster seats are an important part of baby safety. Learn how to select the correct travel accessory to make your trips safe & fun.
Car Seat Types
Infant Car Seats
These seats are designed for the tiniest of babies, newborns up to 22 lbs (10 kg). Since babies have weak neck muscles, infant car seats have head supports in place to cradle the baby’s head and are rear-facing to help the seat absorb the force of the impact in case of a collision. Transport Canada actually recommends infants stay in rear-facing car seats until they reach 22 lbs (10 kg) and can walk unassisted, although many outgrow their infant car seats before that time. If so, transitioning your baby to a rear-facing infant / child seat is required.
Infant / Child Car Seats
Designed to be used from infancy to toddler years, these car seats are versatile in that they can be used as rear-facing for smaller children weighing 5 to 30 lbs (2 to 14 kg) and up to 1 year of age, and converted to forward-facing seats to be used until the child weighs 40 lbs (18 kg).
Infant / Child / Booster Seats
Also a versatile option for new babies, this type of car seat will take your child through all stages of use. It can be used as a rear-facing car seat for infants weighing 5-35 lbs (2 to 16 kg) and up to 1 year of age, and converted to a forward-facing car seat once your child reaches 22 lbs (10 kg) and is walking unassisted. The final transition for this type of seat is to a belt-positioning booster that uses your vehicle’s seatbelt for children weighing 40 to 100 lbs (18 to 45 kg). That will easily take your child well into the toddler years!
Child / Booster Seats
These car seats are used for older babies and toddlers, beginning with children weighing 22 to 40 lbs (10 to 18 kg). It can only be configured as a forward-facing seat, and it uses an internal harness system to restrain your child. It converts easily to a general booster seat for children weighing 40 to 80 lbs (18 to 36 kg), and works with your vehicle’s seatbelt, instead of an internal harness.
Also known as belt-positioning boosters, these car seats are designed to raise your child’s body up to ensure proper positioning of the vehicle’s shoulder and lap seatbelts. In this position, the belts should fall across your child’s shoulder and hips. These seats generally come in high back or no back styles, and can be used for children weighing 40 to 100 lbs (18 to 45 kg), and 40 to 60 inches (100 to 150 cm) tall.
Weight requirements for all types of car seats vary by manufacturer. Please check the car seat manufacturer’s instructions, as well as your vehicle owner’s manual before installation and usage. Most manufacturers have a help line to call with any questions. Keep in mind; children in booster seats are generally safer in the rear centre seat of a vehicle, and never use a car or booster seat in the front seat of a vehicle where there is an active air bag.
Car Seat Accessories
Once you’ve finally decided on which type of car seat is best for you, your child and your vehicle, there are other accessories that can make life with a baby a little easier! Additions such as roller shades or sun shades, which attach to car windows to block out the sun, are handy to have as are car seat under mats, which help protect your vehicle from spills. Mirrors are a good choice too, since several can be positioned throughout the vehicle so you can see your child while driving, and your child can see you. Of course, the most important accessories of all are toys! There’s a myriad of portable, quiet toys available to pack away in the car for those road trips that will keep baby occupied and happy. Remember to stick with soft toys that won’t become projectile objects in case of a collision. Happy driving to you and your baby!