What To Consider When Buying a Baby Car Seat In Canada
Choosing a car seat is so much fun! It makes coming with baby seem so real and exciting. It can also feel like you’re outfitting your auto for a trip to outer space. So many latches, belts and anchors, it can get confusing.
I remember when I was trying to find our first car seat… Walking into Babies ‘R’ Us and scouring Amazon reviews. But what I had no idea about was how reviews made no difference!
At the end of the day, keeping baby safe is the priority. When chosen and used correctly, the righty car seat will give you peace of mind.
But how do you know how to choose the best one?
Tip1: Read your car manual before going shopping
I know, we never read ‘those things’ but they’re actually essential information. Pay extra close attention to where you are installing your car seat and which system you’re using to strap the seat in (seatbelt or UAS).
P.S. car seats can be attached using the seat belt or the UAS system. Both work but NOT both at the same. Choose what one works best for you and your car.
Tip 2: Make sure the car seat fits
I know a lot of parents leave the store thinking they’ve bought the perfect seat, only to get home and find that the seat doesn’t actually fit in the car. Just because it works in one of your cars doesn;t even mean it will work in both!
The make, model, and year of your car can impact the way even one single car seat fits into it. Some have deep bucket seats, others have UAS that can only be used in a specific way. There is a lot to know about choosing a seat that will fit.
The goal is to make sure the seat fits within your budget, you can safely install it, and it can be used correctly every time!
Tip 3: The most expensive is not necessarily the best one
Yes, their branding, fancy colours and extra features are really enticing, but did you know that every single car seat in Canada is tested and rated the exact same way?
All Canadian car seats have a small maple leaf sticker on them. This means they have passed the requirements for safety. There is only a pass of fail grade. So don’t be fooled by the bells and whistles. If there is a leaf on it and it’s not modified or expired, it’s likely safe!
Fun Fact: Canadian car seats are safety rated for an inversion in an airplane!
Tip 4: If Cleaning Your Seat, Do It Properly
This is something I didn’t even think about until I was using the car seat regularly. We all know babies are MESSY! Arguably messier as they get older. So when you need to clean your seat, read the manual thoroughly.
Car seats are made to withstand fire, water, and impacts but because of these safety features you have to be careful how you wash them. For example, submerging the webbing (straps) can ruin the integrity and cause them to fail in an accident.
Tip 5: Ask for help!
Once you have an idea of what you like, reach out to a Car Seat Tech for help choosing the best seat for you. There are so many brands and so many vehicle quirks that someone experienced can help narrow it down and make it easier for you to decide. We have some incredible resources in Canada, many different provincial facebook groups with certified techs that will help you figure out which car seat works for your car, make, model, budget and specific needs. I suggest contacting someone before buying!
Oh, don’t forget many techs across Canada offer these services for FREE and can help you with installing them safely!
We’ll talk about rear-facing vs. forward-facing another time!