Car Seats and Children: Your Safety Questions Answered

When can I switch to a booster seat? When can my child sit in the front seat?

Parents often have questions about what is safe and when to switch seats.

Car seats, booster seats and seatbelts save lives when positioned the proper way and also help avoid unnecessary injuries.

Keeping kids safe in vehicles is a  priority when driving.

Take a look below to find the answers to some frequently asked questions about children and car seats.

When can a child sit in the front seat of a vehicle in Alberta?

Among safety experts, it is agreed that children under the age of 12 should never sit in the front seat of a vehicle.

While your little one may put up a pretty good plea for sitting in the front seat, it really is safest to have children 12 and under ride in the back seat.

Age vs. weight recommendations: which one should I follow?

The general rule of thumb is to always follow the weight and height recommendations.  Because children of the same age can be substantially different sizes, age should be understood as only a secondary guideline.

Can I use my friend’s used car seat?

Although it may seem wasteful, car seats are a one-user item.

While some people may sell or give their “accident-free” car seats away, the fact is that the seat could have fallen off a shelf or been compromised in some other way.

It’s important to always use new car seats and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can I let my baby sleep in his or her car seat?

When your baby falls asleep in the car seat it may be tempting to let him or her take a relaxing hour nap and not disturb their slumber.

A car seat, however does not provide an ideal sleeping position for their growing bodies.

If you’re out and about or on a road trip, let them sleep – but it shouldn’t be a substitute for a crib.

It’s important to understand that babies and children should never be left sleeping in an unattended vehicle for any length of time.

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When can my child ride in a forward-facing car seat or booster seat?

To reach this milestone your child must weigh over 22 pounds, be able to walk and be over 1 year of age.

Remember that children are safest in the backseat in rear-facing seats as they are less likely to be harmed by airbags in the event of a collision.

When is it time for a booster seat?

Alberta guidelines dictate that your child must weigh between 40 and 80 pounds and be at under 4’9” tall. They should fit well in the seat and not have the seat belt going across their necks. Remember that if you’re not using a high backed booster seat, there should be a head rest behind your child’s head.

When my child is not in the car can I leave my car seat in the back?

You most definitely can leave your car seat and booster in the car for convenience but it should be buckled up in case of a quick stop or accident so the passengers are not injured by the seat.

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