Installation Tips for Car Seats

Picture of infant in a car seat

Picks and Pointers from our car seat clinics

Based on what we see at our car seat clinics, these are the top picks and pointers to help install your car seat correctly:

  1. Read, read, read the car seat installation manual and the child restraint section in your vehicle owner’s manual. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for installation. We have had several seats with no manual. Without the manual we can’t say for sure if it is installed correctly. If you have misplaced your manual, contact the manufacturer for a replacement manual or go online to download. Have questions? Give us a call.
  2. Kudos to those parents who stop by to inquire about expiry dates on their seats. We have had several that were close to or past the expiry date. Expiry dates range from 5 to 12 years depending on the make, model and type of car seat. It’s usually stamped in the plastic underneath the seat and starts with DO NOT USE THIS SEAT AFTER ……. or it may say in the car seat manual. If you still can’t find the expiry date give the manufacturer a call.
  3. When you purchase a car seat, don’t forget to send away the registration card. This gives the manufacturer your contact information in case there is a recall or concerns with the seat you purchased. You can also register your seat online with the manufacturer.
  4. If you have removed the harness straps from your seat for any reason and are putting them back in, make sure you check the car seat manual for the correct path to reinstall. We’ve seen 3 in 1 seats at the clinics where the harness straps were not threaded correctly between the metal bar and plastic headrest adjustment handle at the back of the seat. The manufacturer warns that failure to do so, can result in serious injury or death.
  5. Don’t be in a hurry to move your child to the next stage car seat. Leave your child in each stage as long as possible, or until your child no longer fits within the height or weight limit of that seat. Best practice guidelines recommend children remain rear facing as long as possible.
  6. Any loose objects in your vehicle can become a projectile in the event of a collision and cause serious injury. And we’ve seen a lot of potential projectiles! Even a booster seat can become a projectile. If your child is not in their booster seat, remember to buckle the booster seat in.

When children travel in a restraint system appropriate to their weight, height and development, and the seat is used correctly, children are 70% less likely to suffer serious injuries and 90% less likely to die in the event of a crash.

The Health Unit offers monthly car seat clinics by appointment. Have questions? Give us a call.

For more information:
Transport Canada
Parachute Canada
Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Last updated: June 2018