Car and Booster Seats

Infants and children should be protected in vehicles from before birth until they are big enough to use a vehicle's built-in seatbelt safely.

In this section you will learn about:

In a collision, if not secured in the appropriate car seat or booster seat,  young children can slip out of a seatbelt and hit something in the vehicle or get ejected from the vehicle.

Car crashes are a leading cause of injury-related death among children and youth1. If they are correctly used, car seats can reduce the possibility of injury or death in a collision by up to 75%2,3. It is estimated that between 44% and 81% of car and booster seats are not used correctly, putting children at risk for increased injury.4,5

According to a  2005 analysis of severe injuries to child passengers, 92% of injured infants, 74% of injured toddlers, and 96% of injured school-aged children were not using the appropriate restraint at the time of the car crash.6

Please Be Seated Coalition

The Please Be Seated Coalition is a group of agencies who work together to educate the public in Region of Waterloo about:

  • How to choose car and booster seats for your child and
  • The correct use of  car and booster seats 

The coalition member agencies work together to provide car seat safety classes, displays and car seat check ups and review the content of these web pages.

Getting started

Child safety begins with protection for the mother-to-be. If you are pregnant , you should have the lap belt snug on your upper thigh and under your stomach area. The shoulder belt should be across your shoulder and between your breasts.

For detailed information on infant-only car seats, visit our Baby's First Car Seat page.

It is important to read your vehicle owner's manual. It will tell you what type of seatbelt you have, where the Universal Anchorage System (UAS) is located and where the tether bolts for a car seat are located. Find out if you need a locking clip to lock the seatbelt in place.

After you have purchased a car seat make sure to read the car seat manual and practise installing and adjusting the car seat before your baby is born.

If you would like to have your car seat checked after you have installed it, St. John Ambulance, Cambridge has monthly clinics. Please check the Upcoming Car Seat Clinics dates (list should be available soon) and registration information.

The Infant & Toddler Safety Association, Transport Canada, Ministry of Transportation and Safe Kids Canada are also good sources of information on car and booster seats.


1National Collision Database (NCDB) Transport Canada Road Safety. 2009

2Biagioli F. Proper use of child safety seats. Am Fam Physician 2002;65(10):2085-90

3Weber K. Crash protection for child passengers: a review of best practice UMTRI Research Review 2000;31(3):1-27

4Canadian Paediatric Society. Transportation of infants and children in motor vehicles. Paediatric Child Health 2008;13(4):313-27

5Morris SD, Arbogast KB, Durbin DR, Winston F.K. Misuse of booster seats. Injury Prevention 2000(6):281-4

6Chouinard A, Hurley R. Towards the development of a national child restraint survey. In: Canadian Multidisciplinary Road Safety Conference XV, 2005; Fredericton, BC.

The information provided by the Please Be Seated Coalition on this website is intended to provide a general overview to help with the selection and safe installation of car seats and booster seats and is not intended to be comprehensive. Under no circumstances should this information be used to replace the car seat or booster seat manual or the vehicle owner's manual. You should always read and adhere to all information and instructions contained in the car seat and booster seat manual and the vehicle owner's manual. Car seats and booster seats are all different and these details are included in the manual provided with them. According to Ontario law, it is the responsibility of the vehicle driver to ensure that all children who require a child car seat or booster seat are properly secured. The Please Be Seated Coalition is not responsible for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this site, whether from errors or omissions in the content of our site, or from any other use of this site.

The materials in this website occasionally contain links to external web pages; however, the inclusion of such links does not constitute referrals or endorsements of the linked entities. Links to organization and governmental agencies are provided as a convenience only to readers. The links are to be accessed at the reader's own risk and the Please Be Seated Coalition makes no representations or warranties about the content of these links.