Skip to Main Content Health Care Professionals Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit Search

Car Seat Safety

Infant’s birth to one year of age

Your baby needs a car seat every time you ride in the car. Always use a car seat in a rear-facing position in the back seat of your car.ALWAYS READ YOUR MANUFACTURERS INSTRUCTIONS. If your child outgrows the infant only car seat, he or she would progress to a convertible car seat but will still remain in a rear-facing position.Sometimes parents want to move their child to a forward-facing car seat too soon. Keep your child in a rear-facing position as long as possible until at least one year of age or until he or she has reached the height or weight limit of the car seat in the rear-facing position. Do not use your infant car seat as a replacement for your child’s crib when at home.

Children one to four years of age

Your toddler needs a car seat every time you ride in the car. When your child reaches the weight or height limit for his or her rear-facing car seat, and is at least one year of age, it will be time to move to a forward-facing convertible car seat. Be sure to read the manufacturers instructions, as a forward-facing seat is installed differently than a rear facing car seat. Many forward-facing car seats have height limits of 40 inches and weight limits of 40 pounds, but there are new seats with higher weight and height limits. If your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat before 40 pounds, get another forward-facing car seat with a higher height limit. Most children outgrow a forward-facing car seat between ages four and five.

Children four plus years of age

Once your child has outgrown the height and weight limit of his or her forward-facing car seat, he/she is ready for a booster seat. Booster seats don’t use harness or tether straps; they use a car’s seat belt to hold a child in place. Use a high-back booster if your car does not have adjustable head rests. If your car has adjustable head rests, you can choose a no-back or high-rise booster seat. Booster seats must be used with both a lap and shoulder harness and cannot be used with only a lap belt. When your child reaches a height of 4’ 9” or 80 pounds, he or she is ready to progress to a seat belt.

Seat belt check

Have your child sit with his or her back right against the car’s seat back. The shoulder belt should go over the shoulder and across the middle of your child’s chest. The lap belt should fit low across the hip bones, under your child’s belly. Your child’s knees should bend comfortably over the edge of the car’s seat.

External Links

  • (this link has car seat safety information in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish and Urdu.)

Related Resources

Related Topics