Car seat regulations by province

You don’t want your little one to grow up too fast. You also don’t want to move them onto the next stage of car seat too early – it may even be against the rules set out in your province. From rear-facing to forward-facing to booster, all provinces require car seat manufacturers’ specifications and instructions to be followed. But what are the specific regulations in your province and when is it time to change seats? Buckle up while we take a closer look at car seat legislation from coast to coast (as well as a couple important car seat questions).

Car seat rules province to province for height, age and weight:

Before jumping into each provinces’ car seat laws, keep in mind that the legal minimum isn’t always the safest choice. Transport Canada also sets minimum requirements for car seat manufacturers, which can be stricter than the rules of your province. Check out Transport Canada’s four stages of child car seat use for even more info – it covers from infant car seats all the way to seat belts. But here are just a couple of important points2:

  • Stay in each car seat stage as long as possible, starting with a rear-facing car seat for infants and toddlers. Your child is actually the safest sitting rear-facing in the car, so you should use a rear-facing car seat as long as you can (this may mean switching from an infant to a convertible car seat)5.
  • When your child has outgrown their rear-facing car seat and is at least 10 kg (22 lb), they may ride in a front-facing car seat.
  • When your child has outgrown their front-facing car seat and is at least 18 kg (40 lb), they may ride in a booster seat.

    British Columbia

    • A rear-facing car seat must be used until your child is: at least 1 year old and 9 kg (20 lb).
    • A car seat (meaning rear- or forward-facing) must be used until they are 18 kg (40 lb).
    • A booster seat must be used until they are: 9 years old or at least 145 cm (4’9”) tall.

      Alberta

      • A car seat must be used until your child is 6 years old or a minimum of 18 kg (40 lb). The seat must be an appropriate child safety seat and correctly installed. Also, the passenger must be properly secured.
      • A rear-facing car seat should be used until they are at least 2 years old or reach the maximum weight or height limits outlined by the car seat’s manufacturer.
      • A forward-facing car seat should be used until they reach the maximum weight or height limits outlined by the manufacturer.
      • A booster seat should also be used until they reach the maximum weight or height limits outlined by the manufacturer.

        Saskatchewan

        • A car seat must be used that is suitable for your child’s age, weight and height until they are a minimum of 18 kg (40 lb).
        • A booster seat must be used until they are: 7 years old, or 36 kg (80 lb) and 145 cm (4’9”) tall

          Manitoba

          • A rear-facing car seat must be used that is suitable for your child’s age, weight and height from birth until they reach the maximum weight and height limits outlined by the car seat’s manufacturer.
          • A forward-facing car seat must be used that is suitable for your child’s age, weight and height until they reach the maximum weight and height limits outlined by the manufacturer.
          • A booster seat must be used until they are 9 years old or 36 kg (80 lb) or 145 cm (4’9”) tall.

            Ontario

            • A rear-facing car seat must be used until your child is: a minimum of 9 kg (20 lb).
            • A car seat (meaning rear- or forward-facing) must be used until they are a minimum of 18 kg (40 lb). The car seat must also meet the manufacturer’s suggested use.
            • A booster seat must be used until they are 8 years old or 36 kg (80 lb) or 145 cm (4’9”) tall. You also have the option to use a forward-facing car seat if the manufacturer’s recommended use is met.

              Quebec

              • A car seat must be used that is suitable for your child’s age, weight and height.
              • A booster seat must be used until they are 9 years old or 145 cm (4’9”) tall.

                Newfoundland and Labrador

                • A rear-facing car seat must be used until your child is a minimum of 9 kg (20 lb).
                • A car seat (meaning rear- or forward-facing) must be used until they are a minimum of 18 kg (40 lb).
                • A booster seat must be used until they are 9 years old, or a minimum of 37 kg (81.5 lb) and 145 cm (4’9”) tall.

                  New Brunswick

                  • A car seat must be used that is suitable for your child’s age, weight and height.
                  • A car seat or booster seat must be used until they are 9 years old or 36 kg (80 lb) or 145 cm (4’9”) tall.

                    Prince Edward Island

                    • A rear-facing car seat must be used until your child is at least 1 year old and 10 kg (22 lb).
                    • A car seat must be used until they are a minimum of 18 kg (40 lb).
                    • A booster seat must be used until they are 10 years old or 145 cm (4’9”) tall or exceed the manufacturer’s weight limit.

                      Nova Scotia

                      • A rear-facing car seat must be used until your child is: at least 1 year old and 10 kg (22 lb).
                      • A car seat must be used until they are: a minimum of 18 kg (40 lb).
                      • A booster seat must be used until they are: 9 years old or 145 cm (4’9”) tall.

                      Car seat FAQs:

                      How do I choose the right car seat?

                      On top of selecting a car seat that best matches your child’s age, height and weight, you’ll want to select a car or booster seat that fits your car too. For example, if you’re driving a smaller car, a bulkier car seat could lead to a tight fit or an improper installation. You’ll also want to look out for the National Safety Mark, which signifies that the seat meets the Canadian safety standard2. Checking off all of these boxes will help to ensure the safest choice is made.

                      Tip: Don’t forget to register your car seat or booster seat with the manufacturer. If there is a recall on your car or booster seat, registering the seat allows the manufacturer to contact you2.

                      You can also find more insight and tips on car seats (and many more topics) from other Canadian parents on Parent Life Network, as well as enter Canada’s Luckiest Baby.

                      What side do you install a car seat on?

                      First, you always want to install your car seat in the backseat of your vehicle. Taking it one step further, the safest spot to install your car seat is the middle seat. If you can’t install it in the center due to vehicle limitations, the passenger side is your next best place – this is because if you ever need to street park, they’ll already be on the same side as the sidewalk.

                      How can I check my car seat is installed correctly?

                      A recent roadside study found that a shocking 73% of car seats were installed or used incorrectly3. No matter which car seat stage you’re at, if you’re not sure your car seat is installed correctly, or just want that second opinion, look out for car seat clinics held in your area.

                      If you’re wondering if you can take the car seat over to your local fire department or police station instead, this will depend on your area. There usually isn’t a certified car seat technician on site 24/7 to help with installation or to check the seat, but you can always call and ask.

                      Did you know? In every province but Alberta, you could be ticketed for an improperly used or installed car seat, or for no car seat at all. This ticket could potentially be used when determining your auto policy’s premium.

                      How long is a car seat good for?

                      All car seats in Canada have an expiry date. How long a car seat is “good” for will vary by manufacturer, so check your car seat for its exact expiry date, and don’t use the seat past that date. This is for a number of reasons, but it all comes down to safety. For example, safety standards may have been updated or wear and tear (including exposure to sunlight) may weaken the seat’s plastic or result in buckles and other parts not working smoothly anymore4.

                      Even if the car seat hasn’t expired, once your child has surpassed the weight and height maximums for their car seat, you’ll want to move on to the next stage, whether that be a forward-facing car seat, booster seat, or seat belt.

                      Does my car insurance cover car seats?

                      Even if there is no visible damage to a car seat after an accident, it should still be replaced. Luckily, most car insurance policies will cover the cost of a new replacement car seat.



                      The summary provided is for information purposes only; it is not legal advice, and is not a substitute for doing your own research into the laws that govern child car seats in the province or territory in which you live.

                      Parent Life Network and Sonnet have a commercial marketing partnership.


                      Coverage your car’s always wanted at a competitive price. Provincial Territorial Law Summary Choosing a child car seat or booster seat Car Seat Guidelines in Alberta Booster Seats and Child Car Seats Choose the right child car seat Choosing a child car seat or booster seat CPSAC How long are child car seats and booster seats safe? Stage 1: rear-facing seats