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GRACO: Choosing a Car Seat for Your Most Precious Cargo

Choosing a Car Seat for Your Most Precious Cargo

…and knowing when it’s time to graduate to the next stage

Every parent wants their child to be safe, but with so many options available, the process of selecting a car seat can be overwhelming. That’s why Babies “R” Us, in partnership with Graco Canada, is committed to helping parents understand the importance of choosing the correct seat for their child’s weight, height, and age.

Follow along as we demystify how to choose a car seat for your most precious cargo and how to know when it’s time for baby to “graduate” to the next stage in seats.

Stage 1: Rear-Facing

By law, all babies must start out in rear-facing mode. Babies’ neck muscles are weak, so it is import4Ever_Stage 1_8AH00CBant that the back of the car seat, rather than the baby’s chest, absorbs the bulk of force in the event of a collision. Minimum requirements for the forward-facing stage vary from province to province, but Transport Canada encourages extended rear facing. As stated by Chris Pearson, Graco Canada’s Car Seat Specialist, “children are 5 times less likely to be injured in an accident rear facing than forward facing if they are less than two years old.”

When to Graduate from Stage 1? It is recommended to keep your child rear facing until at least age 2, or until they outgrow the maximum height or weight requirements of their rear-facing car seat.

Stage 2: Forward-Facing in a 5-Point Harness

When a child has outgrown their rear-facing car seat, the next stage is a forward-facing seat with a 5-point harness. Many car seats allow a child to stay harnessed up 4Ever_Stage 2 8AH00CBto 65 lbs.! Don’t rush in moving your child from a forward-facing seat to a booster: as long as your child fits within the weight and height requirements of their car seat, they are safest riding in a 5-point harness.

When to Graduate from Stage 2: It is recommended that children remain in a 5-point harness until they reach the maximum height or weight limits of their forward-facing car seat. The average child tends to be mature enough to move from the harness to a booster seat around 5-7 years of age. Children must be responsible enough to sit properly 100% of the time in the booster, even while asleep, with the seat belt positioned correctly.

Stage 3: Belt-Positioning Booster

There are several factors to consider when deciding to switch a child from a 5-point harness to a booster seat, including the child’s weight & height, age, and habits. In addition to meeting a province’s minimum size and age requirements, a child is only ready for a booster when they can sit-up straight while riding in the car. When ready, a booster seat ensures that the vehicle’s seat belt properly fits the child’s body.

When to Graduate from Stage 3? All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their harnessed car seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle seat belt fits them properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches in height and are between the ages of 8 and 12. A child can graduate from a belt-positioning booster to just the vehicle seat belt once they pass the following five steps: (1) sits all the way back against the vehicle seat, (2) knees bent at the edge of the vehicle seat, (3) shoulder belt fits evenly across the collarbone and sits flush with the torso, (4) lap belt is low on the hips, and (5) can stay comfortably seated this way the entire ride.

4Ever_Stage 3_8AH00CB      4Ever_Stage 4_8AH00CB

Car Seat Stages

Transport Canada outlines four stages for riding safely in a motor vehicle. As per Transport Canada, it is safest to keep your child in each stage for as long as possible.

Car Time Stages_EN

An Exciting New Choice

The Graco 4Ever All-in-1 Car Seat will soon be available in Canada. As the only true All-in-1 car seat on the market, the 4Ever gives parents ten years of use with one seat. Yes, ten years of use! The 4Ever fits infants rear facing in a harness from 4-40 lbs., toddlers forward facing in a harness up to 65 lbs., and youth up to 100 lbs. in a high-back booster and 120 lbs. in a backless booster. The 4Ever makes it easy to ensure that your child is riding in the car seat stage that is most appropriate for their size and age, and it offers all the safety and comfort features that parents expect from the trusted Graco brand. Look for the 4Ever All-in-1 Car Seat at Babies “R” Us in Fall 2016!

Cross Border Shopping

Transport Canada offers another important prescription for parents: when choosing a car seat for use in Canada, be sure to purchase your car seat in Canada. Baby gear is often less expensive in the United States, so it can be tempting to shop south of the border, but it is illegal for Canadians to import and use a car seat that is not certified for use in Canada. The Canadian government has its own set of regulations, and Canadian car seats are designed and tested to comply with those standards. Transport Canada requires that a label called the National Safety Mark be affixed to each and every car seat sold in Canada, so that parents can easily see that their car seat is legal for use in Canada. Using a car seat without a National Safety Mark can result in serious fines, not to mention stress, so it is not worth the risk.

Canada Safety Mark

Before Purchasing a Car Seat

Before purchasing a car seat, always make sure that your child fits within the seat’s requirements, and that the seat can be safely installed in your vehicle. The staff of Babies “R” Us is always happy to help!

By: Graco Canada

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