Healthy lifestyles Injury prevention Child safety Car seat safety

Car seat safety

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death and injury in young children. A properly used child restraint can prevent up to 75% of these deaths and injuries. – Infant and Toddler Safety Association

Oxford County Public Health & Emergency Services offers free car seat checks by appointment at one of our scheduled car seat clinics throughout the year.

By law, children under the age of 8 must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system (car seat or booster seat).

A driver can be fined $240 and lose 2 demerit points for every child who is not in an appropriate restraint system OR whose seat is not properly installed.

Transport Canada recommends that all children under 12 years of age, sit in the back seat, away from the airbag. The safest position is the middle of the back seat. If that is not possible, then behind the passenger seat is preferred.

**Read manufacturer’s instructions and child restraint section in car owner’s manual**

Don't rush it!

It is safest to keep your child in each car seat stage for as long as possible.

Don’t rush to move your child to the next stage (rear-facing, forward-facing, booster). As long as your child is within the height and weight specifications of the seat for that stage, your child is safer.

Rear-facing: It is safer for your child to stay rear-facing as long as possible. It is recommended that children remain rear-facing until age 2. When your child has outgrown the Infant-only seat, use an Infant/Child seat or Infant/Child/Booster seat, rear-facin, up to the car seat’s maximum rear-facing weight OR until the top of the child’s head is less than 2.5 cm (1 in.) below the top of the seat.


Forward-facing: Your child is safer in a forward-facing seat, with five point harness, as long as he/she is within the weight and height limits for the seat and fits the car seat properly. 


Special note for forward-facing seats

When your child reaches 40 lb., use the seat belt, rather than the UAS (universal attachment system), to install the seat in the vehicle. Always use the top tether.

Booster seats: It is best to keep your child in a booster seat as long as possible. If your child has outgrown his or her booster seat, you must check that the seat belt fits him or her correctly before using a seatbelt alone. If the seat belt does not fit, then a different booster seat may be required. 


Winter car seat safety: Check out the video on our winter safety page for helpful tips for car seat safety in the colder months.


Resources to install your car seat safely


Additional information