Child Safety Seats (Booster Seats)

Booster seats are required by law as of January 1, 2008.

Booster seats are required by law as of January 1, 2008.

Who needs a booster seat?

Children who:

  • Weigh 18 kilograms (40 pounds) or more
  • Are 9 years of age or less, and
  • Are less than 145 centimetres tall (57 inches - 4 feet, 9 inches)

Why does my child need a booster seat?

Children outgrow a typical car seat when they weigh 18kg (40lb) - usually about 4 years old. At this age and weight, children are still too small for lap-shoulder belts to fit properly since the seat belt is designed to fit an adult body. As a result, children 4 to 9 years of age have a higher injury rate than younger children.

What kind of booster seat do I need?

All booster seats sold in Canada must meet Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.2. Booster seats are safe when used correctly and the safest seat is the one that best fits your child and your vehicle, and is easiest for you to use.

How can I tell when my child is big enough to use a seat belt without a booster seat?

As of January 1, 2008, a booster seat must be used until one of the factors below are met:

  • The child is over 9 years old (for pelvic development)
  • The child's height is at least 145cm (4ft, 9in) tall

What if my child is too tall for a car seat but doesn't weigh enough for a booster seat?

If your child is too tall for a car seat, but the child's weight is not yet 18kg (40lb), he or she should go into a combination seat that can accommodate a taller child. This seat is both a forward-facing car seat and a high-back booster seat. Since these seats use the taller shell of a high-back booster seat, some models can accommodate children who are too tall for an infant/child (convertible) seat, but are not 18kg (40lb). These forward-facing car seats use a three or five-point harness system and are tethered.

What if my child is 9 years old and is over 145cm (4ft, 9in) tall?

In this case, your child has outgrown the booster seat and should be properly positioned in the vehicle using the regular seat belt assembly ensuring that the child can sit all the way back against the seat back with knees bent comfortably at the edge of the seat, the lap belt rest across the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt is centered on the shoulder and chest.

What if my child is 9 years of age or under, shorter than the suggested height but over the weight that is stated on my booster seat?

If your child is at any point over the weight that is clearly posted directly on the booster seat, the child needs to be moved either to a booster seat with a higher weight capacity or to the regular seat belt assembly of the vehicle.

What if my neighbour or friend has to drive my child on a "one-time, one trip" occasion?

For situations that are not of a common occurrence, a child can be secured in the regular seat belt assembly of a vehicle. This is not for the usual transportation of the child.

Where can I find more information?

For more information on child safety seats, please consult the Seat Belt Regulations  

You can also check out the Caring for Kids website for tips on what type of car seat to use.

Published date: 
June 10, 2015
Transportation and Infrastructure

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