Video: How to install a car seat

Proper installation and use of infant and child restraints save the lives of children every year. Saskatchewan organizations are working to make the transportation of children safer by educating parents and care givers about infant and child restraints.
Child Passenger Restraint check sites are available throughout Saskatchewan so parents can have their infant or child seat checked by trained Technicians for proper use and installation. For more information on Child Passenger Safety or to find a car seat clinic or car seat Technician in your community, visit the Saskatchewan Government Insurance website at www.sgi.sk.ca.

Rear Facing Seats

When to Use a Rear-Facing Seat

The baby’s weight, length, age and development are the four factors to consider when using a rear-facing seat. Use a rear-facing seat from birth until the baby is either too tall or too heavy according to the weight and height limits given in the car seat instruction manual. A child must be kept rear-facing until he or she is one year of age and 10 kg (22 lbs.) and can walk. Do not rush to move your baby forward-facing. A rear-facing seat is the safest way for your child to travel. Some seats can rear face up to 22.7 kgs (50 lbs).

Many caregivers choose an infant only car seat as their child’s first seat. Infant only seats can only be used rear facing, and will attach in and out of a base that is installed into a vehicle. Infant only seats often have lower weight maximums than other types of rear-facing seats such as a convertible seat (one that rear faces and forward faces) or a 3-in-1 seat (one that rear faces, forward faces, and can be used as a booster). Once a child outgrows his infant only seat, he should graduate to a convertible or 3-in-1 seat and use it rear-facing until he is either too heavy or too tall for the seat according to its instruction manual.
Rear-Facing Seat

Why Rear-Facing Seats Are Necessary

Babies and young children have large heads and weak neck and back muscles. Rear facing seats face “backwards” so that the force of a crash or sudden stop is spread across the baby’s back and supported by the car seat. A baby’s neck and back muscles are not strong enough to withstand forces during a crash and therefore must be supported by the seat.

Always check the seat’s instructions for specific weight and height restrictions.

Rear-Facing Seat

Forward Facing Child Seats

When to Use a Forward-Facing Child Seat

Forward-facing child seats can be used once the child is at least one year of age and 10 kgs. (22 lbs.) and can walk. It is safer to leave a child in his rear-facing child seat until he outgrows it, then progress to forward facing. Forward-facing child seats must be used until the child has reached at least 18 kgs. (40 lbs.). Many forward-facing seats allow a child to use the internal harness well beyond 18 kgs (40lbs.); some as high as 29.5 kgs (65 lbs.). It is safer to leave a child in his forward-facing seat until he is either too tall or too heavy for it.
Forward-Facing Seat

Always check the seat’s instructions for specific weight and height restrictions.

Why Forward-Facing Child Seats Are Necessary

When properly installed, a forward-facing child seat protects the child in the following ways:

  • The harness absorbs the forward motion of the child at the moment of impact. Forward-facing seats help to distribute the forces of impact over the strongest parts of the child’s body.
  • The vehicle seat belt or Universal Anchorage System keeps the child seat in place.
  • The tether strap secures the top of the child seat to the vehicle, reducing forward movement of the child’s head during a collision.

Booster Seats

When to Use a Booster Seat

A booster seat is used for children who weigh at least 18 kgs (40 lbs.). Boosters will have maximum weight limits of 36 kgs. (80 lbs.), 45.5 kgs. (100 lbs.), or even 54.5 kgs. (120 lbs.). Some boosters will have minimum age suggestions in their manuals (i.e. 4 years old). If a child is young but heavy, a forward-facing seat with a high weight limit would be the best option.

Children should stay in their booster seats until they fit the adult seat belt properly. Most children should remain in booster seats until they are between the ages of 8-12 years.

Low Back Booster Seat

Why Booster Seats Are Necessary

Booster seats are necessary during the period when children are too big for a forward-facing child seat but are too small for a seat belt. The booster seat works by raising the child in the vehicle seat so the seat belt is properly positioned low over the child’s hips, and collar bone (between the shoulder and neck). An incorrectly positioned seat belt over a child’s abdomen can cause the child to be seriously injured or even killed in a collision.
Low Back Booster Seat

As of June of 2014, it is law in Saskatchewan that children must use a booster until age 7, or weigh 36 kgs (80 lbs.) AND stand 145 cm (4’9”) tall. Legal requirements often reflect a minimal standard. Children will be safer if they continue to use a booster beyond the legal requirement, until the seat belt fits them properly.

Always check the seat’s instructions for specific weight and height restrictions.

Does Your Child Need to Use a Booster Seat?

Children are often taken out of booster seats far too early. On average, children are ready for an adult seat belt when they are 145 cm tall (4’9”) and around 36 kgs. (80 lbs.). This occurs for most children between the ages of 8-12 years. The true indicator of seat belt readiness is seat belt fit. Have the child sit with his back and bottom against the vehicle seat back and assess the following:

  1. Do the child’s knees bend over the vehicle’s seat edge without slouching?
  2. Does the lap portion of the vehicle seat belt lay low on the child’s hips, touching the thighs and not across the stomach?
  3. Does the shoulder portion of the belt lie across the shoulder and not in front of the face or on the neck?
  4. Can the child sit in the proper position (not slouching, falling asleep on the window, etc.) for the entire ride?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no,’ the child should continue to use a booster seat.

Low Back Booster Seat

Resources