Road safety

Choosing a child car seat or booster seat

Have questions about child car seats or booster seats? You're definitely not alone. Here are some tips to help you choose, purchase and install a seat correctly.

When used properly, child car seats and booster seats significantly reduce fatalities and serious injuries in a crash.

Choose a seat that meets age, height and weight requirements

Children outgrow everything — even car seats and booster seats! Ensure you're using the right seat for your child's age and size.

It's also the law. In B.C., all children under 16 must be correctly restrained in an appropriate child car seat, booster seat or seat belt. For more information, please see child passenger safety.


Use a rear-facing car seat

Your child must use a rear-facing child car seat until they are least one year of age and weigh at least 9 kg (20 lbs).

There's no rush to switch to a forward-facing seat—these guidelines are just the minimum requirements. Your baby or toddler can stay rear-facing, so long as their weight is within your child seat's stated limit.

A rear-facing child seat is the safest option for your child, as it provides better support for your baby or toddler's head and neck.

Learn how to place the rear-facing car seat (external).

Transition to a forward-facing car seat

When your child is older than one year and between 9-18 kg (20-40 lbs), they will become ready to switch from a rear-facing to a forward-facing car seat, depending on their weight. 

Keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible. This is the safest option as long as their weight is within the manufacturer's stated limit.

Learn how to place the forward-facing car seat (external).

Use a booster seat

If your child weighs more than 18 kg (40 lbs), they should use a booster seat. 

After they reach nine years old or 145 cm (4'9") tall, they can transition to using a seat belt.

Learn how to place the booster seat (external).

Sit in the back seat with a seat belt

Kids 12 and under who are too old or large for a booster seat should always sit in the back seat. Always make sure they use a seatbelt and that its properly adjusted.

Learn how to make sure your child fits their seat belt (external).

Purchase an approved child car seat or booster seat

When you purchase or use a seat, ensure the seat:

Important: If you're buying a child car seat or booster seat outside of Canada, either in-store or online from non-Canadian companies, it does not comply with Canada's safety regulations.

Find details on your child car seat or booster seat

Watch this video to learn how to locate the National Safety Mark, the manufacturer or expiry date of the seat.

Install your child car seat or booster seat correctly

For your child car seat or booster seat to be effective, it must be installed correctly. Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions.

Need help or tips?

Visit Transport Canad​a for instructions with diagrams, and key information, or call 1-877-247-5551 to speak with an expert at BCAA's Child Passenger Safety Program.

Additional resources