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Why do child car seats have an expiry date and is it safe to still use them ?

Ottawa Personal Injury Lawyers David Hollingsworth.  In Canada, all car seat manufacturers provide an expiry date on all car seats.  Why? For safety !

There are also reasons such as…

  • sunlight: yes, sun exposure can damage or weaken the plastic found in car seats; and
  • safety regulations and standards change over time and products improve over time.

The provincial and territorial laws state that children’s car seats and booster seats  must be certified to Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and must be used properly according to the instructions given by the manufacturer. If you don’t follow the instructions or if you use them past their expiry or useful life dates, there is exposure to putting a child at risk and you may be found guilty of breaking the law.

You may be tempted to buy a car seat second hand.  Our Ottawa injury lawyers do not recommend you buy a used car seat unless you can get a guarantee that it hasn’t been in an accident (which could be impossible), has not been recalled (check with the manufacturer or Transport Canada – 1-800-333-0371) and that it isn’t expired; Transport Canada also provides a list of manufacturers of car seats and booster seats sold in Canada which includes the expiry/life date.

The following are the weight guidelines for child car seats in Ontario:

Infants: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children must rear-facing car seats until the child weighs at least 9 kg (20 lb.). It’s important to note that this is a minimum requirement. Some rear-facing car seats are made for children that weigh up to 20 kg (45 lb.).

Toddlers: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children use a forward-facing child car seat once  they weight from 9 kg to 18 kg (20 to 40 lb.). Again, this is a minimum requirement. Some forward-facing car seats are made for children that weigh up to 30 kg (65 lb.).

Pre-School and up to 8 years old: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children use a booster seat once they weigh 18 kg to 36 kg (40-80 lb.), are less than 145 cm (4 feet 9 inches) tall, and are under the age of 8. Again, this is a minimum requirement.

Youth: Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act states that children can use a seat belt when one of the following conditions is met:

  • Child turns 8 years old, or
  • Child weighs 36 kg (80 lb.), or
  • Child is 145 cm (4´ 9˝) tall or more

It’s important that  the shoulder strap is positioned across a youth’s shoulder and in the middle of the chest and the lap belt crosses the hips and not the stomach.

Child car seat requirements are the law and more importantly are there for safety.  If you are unsure of what car seat your child should be in or if your car seat is installed correctly, there are a number of resources in the Ottawa area to help you such as Service Ontario at 1(800) 268-4686. Please make sure your child is safe.

-We understand, we care and we’re here to help: Ottawa personal injury lawyers since 1999.

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