Blog Car Seat Laws And Regulations In Ontario

Nov 13, 2020

What Drivers Need to Know About Car Seat Rules

young toddler in a car seat

Ontario car seat laws are in place to protect children in case of an accident. The Canadian Public Health Association says child car seats reduce the risk of death by 71% in infants under one-year-old and 54% for kids ages one to four.

All drivers are responsible for the safety of passengers under 16 years old. However, those under the age of eight require a car seat or booster specifically designed for their size. Using the correct child seat is a way to prevent any serious injuries to children if there is an accident.

Transport Canada sets the minimum requirement for car seat manufacturers. Stricter rules can be applied by province or territory, so take the time to know your local laws.

Strap in as we take you through car seat laws and regulations in Ontario.

Car Seat Laws In Ontario

Car seat laws are designed to protect passengers of every size. According to the Highway Traffic Act, a car seat or booster seat must be used with children under eight years old.

Here are the rules for using the various types of car seats in Ontario :

Rear Facing Car Seat

  • Made to protect small infants.
  • By law, they must be used until your child is a minimum of 20lb (kg).

Front Facing Car Seat

  • Designed to protect toddlers and young children.
  • Legally must be used until they are a minimum of 40 lb (18g) and meet the manufacturer's suggested use.

Booster Seat

  • Created for older toddlers and young children who have outgrown car seats but are not big enough to fit the seatbelt properly.
  • Must be used until children are eight years old, or 80lbs (36 kg), or 145 cm tall.
  • Booster seats provide 59% more protection than seat belts alone.

What Are The Fines For Improper Car Seat Use?

Failure to properly, or improperly secure a child in your care, you can be charged and fined up to $240 and two demerit points on your record.

Does Insurance Cover Car Seat Reimbursement?

After a car accident, you can not use the same car seat even if your child was not in the car with you. This is the case even if there is no visible damage.

Many insurers will compensate you if you file a claim for a damaged car seat under comprehensive coverage. You will need to buy a new seat (it does not have to be the same one), and they will reimburse you.

How Do I Submit A Claim For A Car Seat?

young man putting infant in a car seat

If you have been in a crash and need to submit a claim for a damaged car seat under your comprehensive auto policy, here is what you will need to do :

  • Report the accident to your insurance company and state there was a children's seat damaged.
  • Have the brand, year, and type of car seat you are using (receipts will help with this step).
  • Purchase a new seat that is around the same cost as the original seat.
  • Submit the receipt.
  • Wait for the reimbursement.

How Long Are Car Seats Good For?

Transport Canada outlines car seat expiry dates in Canada will vary between six to nine years. If a seat was made before January 1, 2012, it might be illegal to advertise or sell because it does not meet current safety requirements.

You should not use, buy or sell car seats after the expiry date because, over time, defects can occur, such as :

  • Labels become hard to read or fade.
  • Instruction manuals are lost.
  • Frequent use and exposure to sunlight can damage and weaken the plastic.
  • Spilled drinks, food and cleaners may prevent the webbing, adjusters, and buckles from working safely.
  • Second or later owners might not get safety recall notices.
  • Harder to determine the history or condition (was it stored poorly or was it in a crash to make it look damaged).

Car Seat Safety Tips

Here are the top car seat safety tips to help keep your children safe in the car :

  • Expiry Date : All car seats have an expiry date. Do not use an expired child seat – they will have out-of-date safety features.
  • Is It Approved : Confirm the car seat is approved for use in Canada. Look for the National Safety Mark on the seat.
  • Instructions : Read all the labels and instructions to ensure your child is the right size for the car seat.
  • Replacement After A Crash : Most manufacturers recommend replacing a car seat in a car crash (even if it is minor). Contact them if you are unsure.
  • Register It : Register your child's seat with the manufacturer so they can contact you if there is a recall.
  • Installation : Make sure the seat is installed correctly – many manufacturers will have videos, and the chair must come with instructions. Some communities offer car seat clinics.
  • Accessories : Do not use add-on accessories that are not approved by the manufacturer.
  • Don't Leave Your Child : Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle or car seat.

Car Seat Laws And Regulations FAQs

If you have comprehensive insurance, your insurer will likely reimburse you for the cost of a new car seat if there is an accident.

An expired car seat does not affect your automobile policy. However, it does put your child at risk for injuries. Make sure you are buying a car seat that meets current safety standards.

Generally, car seats and booster seats will expire after six to nine years, according to Transport Canada. Always confirm with the manufacturer's information. You should not use expired car seats because the safety standards have changed, and there are now safer products. Later owners may not get safety recall notices, labels on how to use are faded, and frequent use and exposure can weaken the plastic.

Car seats expire because safety standards are always improving. Wear and tear can also put a strain on the car seat, which could lead to malfunctions.

Get More Information About Insurance And Car Seats

After you have selected the right car seat, be sure you install it properly and register it with the manufacturer. Combining this with comparing car insurance quotes every year will ensure your family is covered.