Type of Car Seat
Infants must use a rear-facing car seat until they are at least 1 year old and weigh at least 10 kg, as this protects their neck, head, and spine during a crash or abrupt stop. Rear-facing seats are the safest bet for your child until they are 3 or 4 years old, as long as they meet the height and weight limits set by the manufacturer. If your child is at least 10 kg and older than 1 year of age, you can switch to a forward-facing seat. Convertible car seats make this easy as they go from rear-facing to forward-facing as needed.
Upon reaching at least 18 kg and 4 years of age, your child will be ready to move up to a booster seat.
Installing the Car Seat
Place your new car seat in the back seat of your vehicle and secure it using the Universal Anchorage System (UAS) or the vehicle’s seat belt. Your car seat will come with instructions showing the path of the belt. The seat must be secured tightly so that it cannot move more than 2.5 cm in any direction.
If the seat is rear facing, check the instructions for the angle at which it should be set. If it has a handle, the instructions will also indicate its proper placement.
Securing a 5-Point Harness
The placement of the straps varies depending on whether the seat is being used in forward-facing or rear-facing mode. When facing the rear, they should be in the slot that is level with or just below your child’s shoulders. When facing forward, choose the slot that is level with or just above the shoulders.
Ensure that the harness has no twists and is tight enough that it cannot be pinched at the shoulders. Adjust the clip so that it sits at armpit level.
Avoid bulky clothing and snowsuits in the car seat as they can interfere with the proper tightening and placement of the harness.
Check online for video tutorials; many seat manufacturers have them. You may also check for local car seat clinics that teach proper installation. You may still be able to find a fire department or police station that will teach you, but this is much less common than it used to be.
Avoid add-on accessories that are not manufacturer approved.
Most of all, never leave your child unattended in the vehicle.
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