Get your car seats checked. NOW.
Child Restraint Technicians are trained to know the rules and regulations about car seats and how they should be installed. We know all the tricks. We gots skillz.
Sitting in the 401 parking lot every afternoon, gives me lots of time to people watch. There were so many car seats installed incorrectly. So badly, that I could tell across 3 lanes of traffic.
Some common mistakes:
- Rear-facing seats not at 45 degrees
- Rear-facing seats touching the front passenger seats
- Handles left up on infant seats
- Seats not tightened enough
- Harness straps too loose on child
- Straps in the wrong possition
- Chest clip in the wrong position
- Tether strap not used correctly/not tight enough
So what do you do to fix it???
Here are some FAQ’s from MTO’s website:
How do I know if my child car seat is installed correctly?
It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:
- Choose the appropriate child car seat according to the weight, height and age of the child
- When using a child car seat, make sure that the seat is tightly secured by the vehicle seatbelt or by the Universal Anchorage System (UAS). For forward-facing car seats, ensure the tether strap is also used. The installed child car seat should move no more than 2.5 cm (1 inch) where the seatbelt or UAS strap is routed through the child car seat.
- Place the child in the child car seat, ensuring the harness straps lie flat with no more than 1 finger space between the harness and the child’s collarbone (rear-facing) or chest (forward-facing).
Always follow the vehicle owner’s manual and the child car seat manufacturer’s instructions for correct installation and use of the child car seat.
Note: Booster seats are installed differently from child car seats. The lap and shoulder belt combination secures both the child and the booster seat in the vehicle.
What are the child car seat and booster seat requirements?
Everyone including parents,grandparents, relatives or friends, who drives with a child under the age of 8 who weighs less than 36 kg (80 lb.) and stands less than 145 cm (4 ft. 9 in.) tall is required to ensure the child is properly secured in the appropriate child car seat or booster seat based on his/her height and weight.
How should an infant be secured?
Infants weighing under 9 kg (20 lbs.) are to travel properly secured in a rearward-facing child car seat that meets the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS).
What is the proper way to secure a toddler?
Toddlers weighing 9 to 18 kg (20 to 40 lbs.) are to travel properly secured in a forward-facing child car seat that complies with CMVSS and must be anchored to the vehicle using the tether strap (usually found on the back of the car seat).
When should I use a booster seat?
Children under the age of eight, who weigh 18 kg or more but less than 36 kg (40-80 lbs.), and who stand less than 145 cm (57 ins. or 4 ft. 9 ins.) must travel in a booster seat that meets the CMVSS.
When can a child start using a seatbelt alone?
A child can start using a seatbelt alone once any one of the following criteria is met:
- Child turns eight years old
- Child weighs 36 kg (80 lbs.)
- Child is 145 cm (57 ins. or 4 ft. 9 ins.) tall
As a guide, a seat belt may only be used if a child is able to sit with legs bent comfortably over the vehicle seat and with his or her back fully against the back of the vehicle seat. The shoulder belt must lie flat across the child’s shoulder and chest, and should not cross over the child’s neck. The lap portion of the belt should be positioned low over the hips, not the abdomen.
What is the penalty for non-compliance with the child car/booster seat laws?
Drivers who fail to secure or who improperly secure children may be charged, and if convicted, will be fined $110.00 and have two demerit points applied to their driving record.
And here is a great link to some installation tips.
Even if you have gone through all of that inforamtion and done your best to install the car seat, it still is a good idea to have it checked. Parents feel really proud when the pull up to us at a clinic and we don’t have to do anything becuase their seats are good.
If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area and want to get your seat checked, there is a drop-in clinic at
If you can’t make it to the clinic, please call your local health department or St. John’s Ambulance to find a clinic near you.
Your children will thank you.