Car seat safety

Due to covid-19, all car seat clinics are cancelled until further notice. Please use the information below to make sure you are using your car seat safely.

A properly used child car seat can reduce the chance of a child being hurt or killed in a crash.

Only 1 in 5 car seats is used correctly. Is yours?

By law (Ontario), drivers must make sure that their passengers under 16 years of age are secured properly in a child car seat or booster seat, or by a seat belt.

Installing and using a child car seat is not always easy. To help, the Health Unit offers free car seat checks.

Getting started

Before trying to install a seat, read your car seat instruction manual and your vehicle owner’s manual. This will save you time, frustration, and help you make sure the seat is installed correctly and safely.

Types of car seat (3 main stages):

1. Rear-facing seats:

At this stage, there are 2 designs—infant only seats and convertible seat, which are larger. Until children are 1 year old, 22 pounds AND have the ability to walk without help, they must always face the rear of the vehicle. Keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible: well past 1 year old. Watch a video about how to secure your baby in a rear-facing seat and correctly install it in your vehicle (Parachute Canada).

2. Forward-facing seats:

When children are 1 year old, 22 pounds and have the ability to walk unassisted, they can be in a forward-facing seat. However, the Health Unit recommends that children stay in rear-facing seats for as long as possible because they offer more protection. Watch a video about how to secure your child safely in a forward-facing car seat (Parachute Canada).

3. Booster seats:

The booster seat helps to keep the vehicle’s seat belt in the correct position across a child’s shoulder, middle of the chest and over the hips. Watch a video to see if your child is ready for a booster seat (Parachute Canada).

Quick car seat installation tips 

Remember that every child, every car seat, and every vehicle is different. Always follow the directions outlined in your vehicle and car seat manuals.  It’s important to make sure you have the proper car seat for the age and stage of your child and that it is properly installed in your vehicle.

These videos will help you use your car seats safely and address your most common concerns.

How to tighten your car seat effectively

This video will demonstrate how to properly secure a car seat to your car. Using the proper body mechanics will make it easier and safer to install your car seat.

Properly harnessing your child in their car seat

Making sure your child is properly tightened in their car seat is essential to their safety. This includes the proper placement of the chest clip and the pinch test.

Reviewing proper car seat installation

Here are the things to review with your car seat installation and to make sure it’s safe. This video will speak about the essential pieces needed to ensure your car seat is installed correctly.

Colder weather and winter months

This video will help you understand what your child can wear safely in their car seat during colder weather and why. Make sure what they wear won’t affect their safety.

Getting your seat checked: free clinics

Trained child restraint system technicians will check how your child car seat is installed in your vehicle, help you correct any errors that might be found, and provide instructions on correctly using the seat. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers are welcome.

Register to have your car seat inspected. This service is offered by the Health Unit and its partners.

Car seat safety module

Public Health Sudbury & Districts has created this Car Seat Safety e-Learning module to help you educate parents and caregivers about car seat safety. Completion of this module does NOT certify you as a Child Passenger Safety Technician.

This module includes information adapted from:

For more information:


This item was last modified on August 12, 2020