IS YOUR CAR SEAT SAFE?

(Find out with these 6 car seat safety questions)

1. Is your car seat safe?

Are you the original owner, or do you know the history of the car seat?If you aren’t the original owner of the seat, you will need to know for sure. If the following information is not known then it is recommended to replace the child seat.


2. Has the car seat (with or without a child) been in a vehicle involved in a car accident?

There could be unseen damage from the stress of the previous crash that could potentially cause the seat to fail.l You should contact the child car seat manufacturer for further information. Most insurance companies will compensate you for purchasing a replacement seat, if your car has been in an accident.


3. Does your child meet the weight and height restrictions for the child seat infant, child or boostero?

It is very important to have a seat that meets your child’s weight and height. Each manufacturer design seats differently, but each model has been individually tested for its weight and height allowances. Remember, it is always safer to have a child rear-facing as long as they meet the requirements of the seat.


4. Is your car seat expired?

All car seats have an expiry date. Over time with exposure to sunlight and usage, the plastic weakens and cannot provide its optimal performance. Most seats are good for 5-9 years, but you should always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Your childs car seat safety is compromised when you use an expired seat, furthermore in the case of an injury you may be held responsible for using an expired car seat. Visit our “Resources” page to ensure that your car seat is safe to use.


5. Has there been a recall on your car seat?

From time to time, manufacturers issue recalls (public notices) on their seats. This is because the products do not comply with safety standards or have a defect. You can check with the manufacturer if one has been issued on your seat. We notify our customers if a recall is issued on the seat we install for them.


6. Does your car seat meet Canadian regulations?

Car seats sold by Canadian retailers should have the National Safety Mark on the seat. This mark indicates that it has been tested and approved by the CMVSS (Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) to meet safety standards set forth by our government. Car seats sold in different countries, and even identical seats sold in the United States are tested according to different standards. Therefore they are not legal for use in Canada. In the case of a collision where a child is injured; your insurance company will likely penalize you for using a seat that is not certified by CMVSS. We will not install a car seat without CMVSS compliance.


IS YOUR SEAT INSTALLED CORRECTLY?

(Find out with these 5 car seat installation questions)

1. Is your car seat installed in the correct angle?

When using a rear facing infant, it is important for the back of the car seat to be at a 45º angle. This angle is important because the back of rear facing seat absorbs the forces in a collision. This angle also supports the infant’s heavy head and weak neck muscles, along with keeping their airway open. Often seats aren’t reclined enough and the child is too up right. Over-reclined seats can cause injury due to the child being forced forward toward the front of the vehicle and into the shoulder straps, and if the harness isn’t snug enough, it increases the chances of the child slipping out of their seat in a sudden stop or collision.
NOTE: Rear-facing seats are tested in this angle for car seat safety therefore should be used at this angle.


2. Are you placing you child in the car seat correctly?

Incorrect use of the harness is a very common mistake, always read the car seat Owner’s Manual. This should explain what kind of harness system is on the seat, and how to use it correctly. The most common type of harness is the 5 point harness, make sure:

  • You place the child snug in the harness (no more than one finger should be able to fit between the child and the harness)
  • The chest clip should be at the armpit level and must lay flat against the child’s chest.
  • The harness straps should be below or at the child’s shoulders. (When Rear facing)
  • The harness straps should at the child’s shoulders or slightly above. (When Forward facing)
  • The harness start must also not be tangled and should all be straight and flat.

3. Are you using the correct method to install your car seat?

There are different methods of installing your car seat:

  • Seat- belt
  • U.A.S. (Universal Anchorage System) *also known as the LATCH / ISOFIX

It is crucial to look at both the car seats owner’s manual as well as your vehicles owner’s manual to know where a child car seat can and cannot be installed, what routing method to be used in order to strap the car seat in, and to figure out where the tether and anchorage points are located and which seat they should be used with.  In some cases the UAS system in the vehicle is not compatible with the car seat. In this case, a seat belt installation should be used

It is crucial to look at both the car seats owner’s manual as well as your vehicles owner’s manual to know where a child car seat can and cannot be installed, what routing method to be used in order to strap the car seat in, and to figure out where the tether and anchorage points are located and which seat they should be used with.  In some cases the UAS system in the vehicle is not compatible with the car seat. In this case, a seat belt installation should be used

Seat – belt

When using the Seat-belt method you will need to know if the seat belt works on an ALR (Automatic Locking system) or an ELR (emergency locking system) system. Your vehicles owner’s manual should have more information on the type of seat belt system used. On an ALR, the seatbelt must be pulled out completely to engage it in the locking position. On an E.L.R, a locking clip may need to be used to lock the seat belt so it does not move. A locking clip may not be needed if the seat belt has a locking mechanism attached to seat belt itself.

U.A.S

Newer vehicles will have the UAS or LATCH anchors points, with older cars you can use the seat belt installation method. With most car seats only one methof can be used, not both. Not all car seats are compatible with all vehicles, in some cases you may have to return your car seat and purchase one that is compatible with your vehicle.

NOTE: This information is for reference purposes only. You should always follow manufacturer’s instructions.


4. Does your car seat move?

A correctly installed car seat should not move more than 1 inch or 2cm from where it is secured in. In most cases when we install a car seat it will not even budge, so your child is traveling safely. If your car seat moves it cannot provide optimal safety, it is important to have your car seat installed correctly.


5. Have you had your car seat checked by a professional?

The statistics are true. Only 1 in 10 car seats are actually installed correctly, a process stated by the Globe and Mail that is, “mandatory, expensive, and more difficult to calibrate and engineer than a NASA space mission”.


NOTE: Our certified technicians are always available to offer free car seat inspections at our location. Just call and make an appointment, we’ll be sure to put your mind at ease!