Guide to buying car seats for your baby
For parents to be, one of the most stressful parts of your new life happens before your baby even arrives. The amount of research you need to do, as well as the money and time that goes into figuring out the hundreds of things you’re going to need to prepare for your new little bundle of joy is enough to overwhelm anyone.
As we’ve all been told, babies go through things quickly and they grow out of them even quicker. For this reason, a lot of new parents opt towards purchasing some gently used items for their baby, especially the bigger-ticket, more expensive things your baby needs. Of the many baby essentials you’ll have to have, one of the more complicated items is the baby seat. Seems simple enough- get a car seat, put it in the back, stick the baby in until it’s old enough to wear a seatbelt – not too difficult, right?
What some new parents may not know is that not all car seats were created equal. If you’re thinking about purchasing a used car seat, you have to be up to date on the new requirements that were put in place as of January, 2012. It is illegal to buy, sell, trade, or give away a car or booster seat that does not comply with the new regulations. Anyone who does could be held liable in civil court. Kijiji does not allow ads for car seats manufactured prior to January 1, 2012 as many of them do not comply with the new regulations.
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From the Ministry of Transportation website:
The major changes incorporated in the new Canadian regulations include:
• a lap/shoulder seat belt testing requirement for all types of car seats;
• changes to child seats’ dynamic testing to adopt most of the U.S. testing parameters;
• changing the definition of an infant from up to 9 kg, to up to 10 kg;
• increase in the maximum allowable weight limit of child seats from 22 kg to 30 kg;
• introduction of dynamic testing requirements for booster seats;
• extending the limitation on rebound to all rear facing child seats; and
• the allowance of harnesses to be certified for usage on school buses for special needs children.
New car seats you’re purchasing from a store now should all be in compliance, but don’t assume anything- always look for the National Safety Mark for assurance that you’ve indeed purchased a valid, safe car seat.
This goes for buying a used car seat as well – if the car seat was manufactured after January 2012, look for the National Safety Mark. It may sound scary and it may seem better to buy new from a store, but for some parents to be, money can be tight and these new laws shouldn’t intimidate you away from buying baby items off classifieds. When you’re going through the ads, make sure the seller has included the following information:
• the date which the product was manufactured
• the serial number and model number of the car seat
• a picture of the NSM/information label of the car seat
If you have any doubts still, you can always reach out directly to the manufacturer to ask questions before you make your purchase.
At the end of the day, these new rules and regulations are put in place to keep your new baby safe and to give you a little peace of mind too. New parents have enough things to worry about, the safety of your child in your vehicle shouldn’t be one of them.