When your kiddos are in the car, safety is paramount. Here’s how to select the right car seat for your child.
When considering all of the “big ticket” items that you need to purchase for your bundle of joy, visions of strollers and nursery furniture may be the first to dance through your head. But how much thought have you given to your child’s car seat? Your child’s car seat is, without a doubt, the most important piece of gear you’ll purchase, as it will keep your wee one safe and secure during travel time for years to come. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some essential tips to help you select the right car seat for your child.
There are four basic stages or types of car restraints for children: rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.
According to the Canadian Paediatric Society’s Caring for Kids website, infants should be in rear-facing car seats until they are at least one year old, and reach a weight of 22 lbs. However, parents may choose to keep little ones rear-facing past one year as long as they fall within the weight and height requirements of the seat’s manufacturer.
For example, a convertible seat such as the Diono Radian RXT may be used in a rear-facing position for children between 5 and 45 lbs, and then forward-facing up to 65 lbs.
For tips on installing your car seat, see our handy list of dos and don’ts.
All About Convertibles
When selecting a convertible car seat or three-in-one car seat for your child, there are a number of important factors to consider:
• Safety features
Above all else, safety is the number one concern when choosing a car seat. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation recommends looking for the National Safety label so that you can rest assured that your seat meets Canadian safety standards and regulations. All Diono car seats include a variety of safety features, such as a steel alloy frame and aluminum-reinforced sides, as well as an energy-absorbing harness system and energy-absorbing foam panels on all sides. The Rainier, and Monterey models also boast reinforced, deeper sidewalls for extra protection.
• Ease of adjustment
With a car seat that’s designed to grow with your child, adjustments will be necessary from time to time, so look for a seat that’s as user-friendly for parents as it is safe for your wee one.
• Level of comfort
Everyone wants to ride in comfort, especially on those long drives to visit grandparents or special family road trips. Look for car seats that include memory foam padding, as well as expandable sides and a longer seat for extra leg comfort.
• Ease of cleaning
Into every car seat, Goldfish cracker crumbs must fall. No matter how diligent you are about car detailing, messes are bound to happen. Look for a car seat with a machine-washable cover to make cleanup stress-free.
If you’ve selected a model that’s meant to grow with your child, you want it to last. Diono car seats have a product life of 10 to 12 years from the date of purchase, while other seats may only be useful for up to six years. Note: Transport Canada recommends that a car seat be replaced if the car has been involved in a crash, even if your child was not in the car at the time.
All About Boosters
No three-in-one car seat? No problem! Once your child reaches the stage where he or she has outgrown a forward-facing car seat (most forward-facing car seats will accommodate children up to 65 pounds, but be sure to check the manual for your seat’s specific weight and height limits), the next step is to use a combination of booster seat and seat belt. The purpose of the booster seat is to raise your child to a level where the seat belt is properly positioned across their lap and shoulder. According to the Canadian injury prevention organization Parachute, “When installed correctly, putting a child in a car seat reduces the chances of injury or death by as much as 75 per cent and booster seats provide up to 60 per cent more protection than seatbelts alone.” Currently, booster seat use is mandatory in nine Canadian provinces.
High-Back or Backless?
When choosing between a high-back or backless booster, you’ll want to consider a number of factors, including the size of your child and the size of your vehicle. Transport Canada notes that if you opt for a low-back or backless booster seat, your child must have support from your vehicle’s seat or headrest to the middle of his or her ears. A high-back booster—such as the Diono Monterey Booster or Cambria Booster—offers additional safety and comfort features, such as an adjustable headrest and reinforced sides that provide extra protection in the event of a side-impact collision.
The Bottom Line
Remember: the best car seat for your child will be the one that is compatible both with the size of your child and the size of your vehicle, so that it can be installed and used properly. To find a list of car seat clinics in your area, visit the Transport Canada website.
This is a sponsored post, which means it was paid for by our advertising partners. Learn more about Diono here.