What you need to know about car seat safety in Manitoba

Car seat safety in Manitoba is an important topic to study. Do you find yourself thinking: “Car seats. Booster seats. Forward-facing. Rear-facing. Huh?” We thought so. If you’re a new parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, a friend of someone who just had a baby, or is expecting a baby in the coming months, you may have car seat safety questions.

If you live in Manitoba, car seats aren’t only necessary to the safety of your child but required by law.

The first step to car seat safety in Manitoba is understanding the four car seat stages.

Buying the car seat

First and foremost, make sure you buy your car seat in Canada as all car seats must meet Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. If the car seat meets those standards it will be stamped on the back or the bottom of the seat. Although all new car seats shouldn’t be expired, make sure to enquire about the expiry date, especially if you are buying used. (But more on that later).

Installing the car seat

If you’re buying new, the owner’s / installation manual just became your new best friend. Read this carefully and follow all instructions. A child’s life literally depends on it.

With that said, let’s go over what is called the ‘Universal Anchorage System’ or UAS. If your car seat was manufactured on or after September 1, 2002, it will have two connectors that attach to your vehicle’s anchorage bars. Your vehicle’s manual will tell you where these are located. Hint: check for this symbol to locate the bars.

When UAS is used, a seatbelt is not required, but keep in mind that a top tether strap must be used on all forward-facing child seats, regardless of whether it is secured by a UAS or seatbelt.

Learn more: tc.canada.ca

Replacing the car seat

Following proper car seat safety rules in Manitoba is the law, which means a broken car seat is a huge no-no. You should replace the car seat if your car has been in an accident, whether or not the car seat was occupied at the time. Learn more about reimbursement from MPI: mpi.mb.ca

If you need to dispose of your car seat, Manitoba Public Insurance keeps a list of locations that accept damaged or expired car seats. They also have a list of locations where you can have your car seat inspected to ensure it has been installed and placed in your vehicle correctly. How convenient!

Last-minute tips about car seat safety in Manitoba

  1. The Government of Canada does not recommend using a pre-owned car seat or booster seat, however, they understand that this might be the only option for some Canadians. If you find yourself with a used car seat, make sure it is not expired and that it has the national seal. Under no circumstances should you be using it if it has been in a collision.
  2. You can also check on the Government of Canada website for any and all active car seat recalls. Learn more: tc.canada.ca
  3. Before using any car seat or booster seat, check to see if all the mechanisms are properly working. This might mean opening and closing the buckles, adjusting the harness, and checking the chest clip.
  4. Once your child has reached the weight and / or height limit of each stage, they can be moved onto the following stage. However, don’t rush the transition of stages if you don’t feel comfortable.
  5. Last, but certainly not least, register your car seat with the manufacturer so they can inform you if there is ever a recall. You can usually do this online, but check your manual for more info.