A child car seat is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make for your child’s safety: It can reduce the risk of injury and death. However, buying a child car seat can be confusing. There are many choices: new or used, colour, shape, size, etc. The following information will help you when buying a child car seat, plus this free course will provide you with the basic knowledge needed to secure children in vehicles.

New or used child seat?

Decide if you are buying new, used or borrowing a child seat.

New child seats

A new seat will:

  • Provide the most up-to-date safety standards
  • Expire later
  • Cost more

Used or borrowed child seats

For a used or borrowed seat you should check that the child seat:

  • Has not been in any type of vehicle crash
  • Is in good working condition
  • Has no missing parts
  • Is not expired
  • Has instructions
  • Has not been recalled
  • Was purchased in Canada

How do you know which model to buy?

national safety markThere are many models of child car seats. Transport Canada sets the same safety standards for all seats: Higher cost does not equal greater protection. The right seat for your child is the one that:

  • Is legal to use in Canada
  • Fits your child
  • Fits your vehicle
  • Is easy to use

Is legal to use in Canada

Child car seats purchased in other countries are not legal for use in Canada. All child seats made for use in Canada will have a National Safety label on the child seat. Transport Canada – Consumer Information Notice

Fits your child

After you determine the type of seat for your child, choose a child seat that has:

  • At least 3 harness positions
  • Two crotch buckle positions
  • Room for your child to grow, e.g. weight and height

Fits your vehicle

After you have chosen a child seat that fits your child ensure:

  • If rear-facing, the child seat does not touch the back of the front vehicle seat
  • The base does not cover the seatbelt or the seatbelt buckle
  • If you have more than one child car seat, there is room for all of them to fit correctly


When you have chosen a child seat that fits your child and your vehicle choose a seat that you can easily:

  • Tighten the harness straps
  • Change the harness height
  • Thread the seatbelt or Universal Anchorage System (UAS) through the belt path

Expiry Dates

If a child car seat is past the expiry date it should not be used. For more information: Children’s Car Seats and Booster Seats: How long are they safe?


Transport Canada recalls child car seats due to safety concerns. If you are buying a used child car seat or you want to check one that you already own, view the latest recall notice:

If you have any questions, call our toll-free BCAA Child Seat Information Line at 1-877-247-5551 or email roadsafety@bcaa.com

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