Forward-facing seats are for older children with stronger back and neck muscles. As long as your child fits within the weight and height ranges of his or her rear-facing seat, it is best to use that seat for as long as possible.
5-pt Harness for as long as possible!
|5pt harness until 65lbs!
Are you starting to see a pattern?? As with wanting to keep kids rear-facing as long as possible, you want to keep kids in a 5-point harness as long as possible.
(For more information on extended rear-facing, please read yesterday’s post).
Higher weigh forward-facing seats are becoming more common. Some have a maximum weight of 65lbs!
A 5-pt harness spreads the force of a collision across the core of the child’s body and holds them firmly in their seat. Unlike a booster which just positions the child properly in the vehicle’s seat belt and expects that the child’s frame is strong enough to withstand the force of impact.
Every province (and country) has their own laws, which is the minimum requirement for turning a child forward facing and moving them into a booster. But it is recommended to keep them in a 5pt harness as long as possible.
Installation tips and tricks:
If your seat is convertible:
- If the seat was used rear-facing then you’ll need to read the instructions for the seat so that you can re-route the LATCH belt through the seat in the proper position.
- The LATCH or the vehicle’s seat belt needs to pass through the slot at the back of the seat (rather than under the legs when rear-facing)
- A forward facing car seat in Ontario is required by law to use the top tether
- The top tether holds the car seat tight to the vehicles seat, restricting forward motion
- The tether belt will come from the back of the seat, near the top, and will run over the back of the vehicle’s seat
- it clips to the tether bolt
- this can be found either on the back package deck, on the back of the seat or on the floor behind the seat, depending on what vehicle you own
- you must read the vehicle’s owners manual to confirm which seats have a tether bolt so you know where to put the forward facing car seat
- if your vehicle doesn’t have a tether bolt, you’ll need to go to a dealership to have one installed before the car seat is installed
Getting the seat in tight enough:
- I like to attach the top tether to the tether bolt before I begin
- it keeps it out of the way
- attach the LATCH clips to the LATCH anchors
- make sure the LATCH belt is flat
- twisting will cause weakness during a collision
- kneel on the seat
- you are heavier than the baby
- this will get the vehicle’s seat compressed and allow the belt to be as tight as possible
- tighten the belt
- no movement is best
- if you try to shake the base and the whole vehicle shakes, then you’re tight enough
- the harness must be at or above the child’s shoulders
- this will hold the child back against the seat, minimizing the forward motion in a collision
- You must be able to get no more than one finger width between the strap and your child’s collar bone
- DO NOT put your child in bulky clothing (ie. heavy or puffy sweaters, snow suits)
- this will not allow the harness to be tightened properly
- don’t kid yourself either – if you think that it’s tight with the snow suit on, take the snow suit off and put the child back in and you’ll see how loose those straps are when the snow suit compresses under the force of the collision
- The chest clip must be at their arm pits
- DO NOT use any 3rd party add-ons that did not come with the seat
- no protectors on the harness
- no snuggle bags
- many manufactures are starting to have these come as part of the seat
- this means that they were crash tested with the seat and are safe to use
Why get your car seat checked at a car seat clinic?
- we know all the tips and tricks to get your car seat in correctly and tight enough
- we’ve installed many different seats in many different cars
- we know when to use a locking clip
- because you can be fined $240 and 2 demit points (in Ontario) if your child is not in a properly installed and properly used car seat
- but even more important, because you can keep your child as safe as possible should be be in a collision
More info about forward-facing seats
- Transport Canada — Stage 2: Forward-facing Seats
- MTO – Choose the right seat for your child: Toddlers
- Safe Kids Canada – Installation Videos