CAR SEAT FAQs

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 5-POINT HARNESS AND A BOOSTER SEAT?

Car Seat With A 5 Point Harness
5-Point Harness

 

A five point harness is a car seat that has 5 attachment points designed to restrain your child. The 5 points of contact are at the right shoulder, left shoulder, right hip, left hip & crotch. In a collision the car seat harness will transfer the crash forces to these rigid points of the body and into the seat so the soft parts of the body such as the abdomen are protected from any serious impact. 

Booster Seat Safety
Booster Seat

 

Seat belts are designed for an adult's body size, not a child’s. A booster seat is a device that is designed to properly position the seat belt in the correct locations over the child’s body. A proper fit on a booster seat will allow the shoulder belt to be centred across the child's collarbone and the lap portion of the seat belt to be low on the child's hips touching the tops of their thighs.

When to make the switch from a 5-point harness to a booster seat? 

The switch from a harnessed seat to a booster is often considered a "promotion" or a "Milestone"; however, it is actually a serious downgrade in the safety of children that are too young, small or not mature enough.

The Legal Weight minimum for a booster in Ontario is 40 lbs (the child must be 40 lbs consistently) and you must follow the height, weight and age minimums on the particular booster.

Most booster seats require the child to be consistently 40 lbs, 40" in height and minimum 4 years old. It also requires a proper belt fit which may not happen until the child is larger.

For best practice, in addition to the legal limits the child needs to be old enough to be responsible for their own safety since they need to sit in the correct position at all times, including sleeping (generally age 6+).

What is the purpose of the chest clip?

 

The chest clip is a pre-crash positioner and is NOT designed for holding a child in their car seat. In fact, it is actually expected that the chest clip will slide down and/or come open in a crash.

 

The only job of a chest clip is to ensure that the harness straps are where they are supposed to be on the child's shoulders prior to a collision. The properly placed and tightened harness in conjunction with the crotch buckle is what holds your child in their seat and will make sure they are as safe as possible in a collision. 

 

When properly positioned, the chest clip should be located at the child's armpit level. This is why we always teach parents to do the “tickle test” when positioning the chest clips.

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To complete the tickle test you:

  • Buckle the chest clip. 

     

  • Once buckled, reach your fingers across the chest clip and try to tickle the child's armpits

    

  • If you can tickle their armpits it’s in the correct spot. If you can’t, move the chest clip up or down until you can. 

What are the different types of car seats? 
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 ​Infant seat (rear facing only)

  • Can be used for rear facing only

  • A seat that has two parts:

    1. A base that stays installed in the vehicle

    2. A seat that can be clicked into the base but can be brought out of the vehicle and be used in a stroller.

  • Handle for carrying

  • Typical weight range from 4-35lbs 

  • Typically outgrown when child is around 1 years old (22-35lbs or 30-32” in height depending on seat)

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Convertible seat

  • Typically stays in the car after installation

  • Can be used rear or forward facing 

  • Usually outgrown rear facing around 40-50 lbs; forward facing at 65 lbs, but this varies widely

  • Can sometimes be used for newborns

  • Often referred to as "toddler seats", but can be used for babies and older children as well

  • All-in-one car seats are convertible seats with the addition of booster capabilities

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Child / booster seat (combination seat)

  • Forward facing only seat with a harness that can eventually convert to a booster

  • Typical weight range from 22 - 65lbs forward facing, 40 - 110lbs for booster

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Booster seat

  • Designed to properly position the adult-sized seat belt in the correct locations over a child’s body

  • Booster seats do not include a harness

  • Maturity is important. A child must be able to sit properly 100% of the time while in the car (including while sleeping)

  • Types of Booster Seats: high back booster, backless booster & seat belt trainer

INSTALLATION TIPS & TRICKS