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BCAA has a variety of resources that provide helpful information for parents, caregivers and community professionals.

BCAA’s videos provide instructions on using child car seats, booster seats and seat belts.

Installing an infant seat: UAS or seatbelt method

DOWNLOAD PDF Infant-only Car Seats

Securing a child in an infant seat

DOWNLOAD PDF Infant-only Car Seats

Installing a rear-facing child seat

DOWNLOAD PDF Rear-facing Car Seats

Installing an infant seat: UAS or seatbelt method

DOWNLOAD PDF Rear-facing Car Seats

Installing a forward-facing child car seat

DOWNLOAD PDF Forward-facing Car Seats

Securing a child in a forward-facing child car seat

DOWNLOAD PDF Forward-facing Car Seats

Installing an infant seat: UAS or seatbelt method

DOWNLOAD PDF Booster Seats

Installing an infant seat: UAS or seatbelt method


Useful fact sheets including checklists to reference when installing or securing your child in a car seat, as well as buying used car seats.


Birth to 1 Year 





Over 1 Year  





Under 9 Years 





9 Years and Over  





Buying a Used Child Car Seat 




BCAA’s brochure on how to choose a child car seat comes in multiple languages.


Choosing the Right Child Car Seat Brochure – English





Choosing the Right Child Car Seat Brochure – Punjabi





Choosing the Right Child Car Seat Brochure – Chinese Simplified





Choosing the Right Child Car Seat Brochure – Chinese Traditional




Have a question? BCAA has compiled a list of commonly asked questions about child passenger safety.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a child car seat purchased in the United States be used in Canada?

All child car seats for use in Canada must meet the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) set out in the Motor Vehicle Restraint Systems and Booster Seat Safety Regulations. Child car seats purchased in other countries, including the United States might not comply with these standards and are therefore illegal to use in Canada. An exception can be made for children with special transportation needs who cannot be accommodated in standard CMVSS certified seats. Consult your child’s physician or therapist. For more information visit: Transportation for Children with Special Needs

Canada National Safety Mark

When purchasing a child car seat for use in Canada, look for the National Safety Mark label attached to the seat, indicating that the seat complies with Canadian regulations and standards, and is therefore legal for use in Canada.

For more information visit: Child Car Seat Cross Border Shopping – what parents and caregivers should know 

2. Do child car seats expire?

In Canada, child car seats and booster seats have a useful lifespan of 6–12 years, depending on the manufacturer and seat type. Expiry or useful life dates can be found embedded in the plastic shell, on a label affixed to the seat, or in the instruction manual. If the expiry date is not visible on the seat, it can be found on the manufacturer’s website, or by contacting the manufacturer directly.

Over time, the safety of a child car seat can be compromised due to various factors, including:

  • Degradation or weakening of parts, such as the plastic shell
  • Missing removeable parts
  • Faded or missing labels
  • Unknown crash history
  • Missing instruction manual
  • Presence of food, drink, and other materials on webbing, buckles, adjusters, and other components that may prevent them from working properly

    Child car seats and booster seats must not be used beyond their expiry or useful life date. Once they reach this date, properly dispose of the seat or recycle it if facilities are available in your community.


    3. Can a child car seat be recycled?

    Currently, child car seats are not included in a provincially regulated recycling program in BC. However, some municipalities have programs in place for recycling child car seats and some recycling companies accept child car seats – often for a small fee. To find out if there’s a child car seat recycling program available through your municipality, call your city/town’s waste management/engineering department.

    To find out if there’s a recycling option in your area contact the Recycling Council of BC - 604-732-9253 or 1-800-667-4321. Or check their website which has a searchable database by item:

    Some communities have private recycling options:

    • Burnaby  Reclaim Plastics – Pho: 604-549-6880 or Cost: $20/car seat. Note: In-person drop-off strictly by appointment only

    • Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) includes Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, Golden & Sicamous landfills and Falkland, Scotch Creek and Skimikin transfer stations CSRD – Pho: 250-832-8194 - Cost: $5 per seat.

    • Hope
      Mattress Recycling – Pho: 604-324-3211 – Cost: $ 8 per seat. Open Tuesday & Thursday (9am-3pm)

    • Kelowna
      TJs Kids/ATMO - Cost: $25 (child car seat) and $10 (child booster seat). Note: on hold

    • New Westminster
      Queensborough Landing Return-it Depot - Pho: 604-540-4467 - Cost: $15 per seat. Open Mon-Sat (9am–6pm) and Sun (10am–4pm).

    • North Vancouver
      Waste Control Services - Pho: 604-986-9777 - Cost: $8 per seat. Open Mon-Sat (9am-3pm).

    • Port Coquitlam
      Keep It Green Recycling Ltd – Pho: 604-341-6495 – Cost: $10 per seat.

    • Surrey
      TJs Kids/ATMO - Cost: $25 (child car seat) and $10 (child booster seat). Note: on hold

    • Vancouver
      PMD Recycling Solutions - Pho: (250) 893-3851 - See website for mobile locations on the 3rd Saturday of the month (9am-noon). Cost: $12 if you fully dismantle it (fabric, metal, foam, and plastic separated), $20 if they dismantle it for you or pick-up for a $45 minimum charge.
      TJs Kids/ATMO - Cost: $25 (child car seat) and $10 (child booster seat). Note: on hold

    • Victoria PMD Recycling Solutions - Pho: (250) 893-3851 - See website for depot and mobile locations on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month (9am-noon). Cost: $12 if you fully dismantle it (fabric, metal, foam, and plastic separated) or $20 if they dismantle it for you.
      TJs Kids/ATMO - Cost: $25 (child car seat) and $10 (child booster seat). Note: on hold

    4. How can a child car seat be disposed of?

    If there aren’t any child car seat recycling options in your area, they can often be disposed of in your household garbage, check with your municipality’s waste management if they can be collected curbside. When disposing of a child car seat it’s recommended that you:

    • Remove padding and cut it into two pieces
    • Remove the harnessing and take off all the pieces
    • Cut the harness so that it can’t be used again
    • Place the child car seat plastic shell out separately from the padding and parts

    5. Should a child car seat be replaced after a crash?

    Transport Canada recommends replacing a child car seat that was involved in a crash. Most manufacturers also recommend replacing the child car seat if it has been in a crash. The child car seat could be damaged even if your child wasn’t in the seat at the time of the crash. Contact your child car seat manufacturer to determine if you need to replace the child car seat. For more information visit: Transport Canada - When to Replace Your Child Car Seat or Booster Seat

    6. In what situations can a child sit in the front seat of a vehicle?

    The front seat of the vehicle is sometimes the only choice for transporting a child 12 years old or younger. This could be:

    • When the vehicle has no back seat
    • When there are younger children using all of the rear seating positions
    • When the available rear seating position(s) only has a lap belt

    There are some situations where a child cannot ride in the front seat no matter what the circumstance. These include:

    • When the child is in a child restraint and:
      • The manufacturer instructions state that it cannot be installed in the front seat
      • When there is an active airbag that cannot be manually deactivated with a key or switch
      • The restraint is forward-facing and cannot be tethered
    • When the child is using a booster seat and the manufacturer’s instructions state it cannot be used in the front seat

    If the only choice in a vehicle is the front passenger seat, and none of the above exclusions are a factor then it is recommended to:

    • Move the vehicle seat as far back from the dash as possible with the shoulder belt still touching the chest
    • Deactivate the airbag if possible. An airbag should always be considered to be active, even when the occupant restraint sensor may shut it off. Please note that the only way to deactivate an active airbag is with a key or switch, found on the dashboard of equipped vehicles.
    • Make sure:
      • The child sits up straight against the back of the vehicle seat and they do not:
        • Lean forward at any time
        • Lean against the door
        • Put their feet up on the dash
      • Ensure that the seat belt is always over the child’s shoulders and across their chest and never behind their back or under their arm
      • The lap portion of the seat belt is riding across their hips and not their stomach

    According to Transport Canada, the back seat has always been safer, even before there were airbags - placing children in the back reduces the risk of death in a crash by 27%. For more information visit: Reducing the Risk

    7. Where is the safest location to install a child car seat in the vehicle?

    Statistically, the center rear seating position is the safest. This is because:

    • It’s the farthest seating position from the point of impact in a frontal collision
    • It can take advantage of a larger crush zone in a side impact collision
    • There is less rotational force in a rollover collision

    8. When installing a child car seat, is the Universal Anchor System (UAS) safer than the seat belt?

    Both the UAS and seat belt are safe methods of use. However, in many vehicles the UAS cannot be used in the rear center seating position whereas the seat belt can be used in any rear seating position as long as the child car seat can be installed correctly.

    There are also weight limits for using the UAS – usually up to 18kg (40lb) or 22.7kg (48lb) depending on the child car seat and the vehicle. Some vehicle manufacturers provide a combined weight limit of the child and the car seat – refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for more information. Once these weight limits have been achieved, the child car seat must be installed with the seat belt. If the UAS or seat belt can be used, then it’s just a preference. Some people find UAS easier, some do not.

    9. Can a child car seat be installed using both the seatbelt and UAS?

    This varies between vehicles and between child car seats. You will need to refer to the vehicle owner’s manual and child car seat instructions. If you cannot find complete instructions, and your child weighs 18kg (40lb) or more, Transport Canada recommends you install the child car seat using both the UAS (if equipped) and vehicle seat belt, together with the top tether anchor when your child car seat is installed forward-facing.

    For more information: Transport Canada – It’s Important to Properly Install Child Car Seats

    10. What position should the infant seat handle be in when in the vehicle?

    Each infant seat is different. Refer to the labels on the infant seat or the manufacturer’s instructions to see what position the handle should be in when the seat is installed in the vehicle.

    11. Why should a child be kept rear facing?

    It is the forces in a crash that cause injuries. When rear-facing, the forces of the crash are spread more evenly across and absorbed by, the back of the child car seat. In a forward-facing position those same forces are taken up by the child’s body. In addition, the movement of the neck is limited in a rear-facing position reducing the potential for neck injury. It’s recommended that a child be kept rear-facing for as long as possible; until they’ve reached the upper weight limit for the rear-facing child car seat. Check the child car seat instructions for the rear-facing weight limits.

    12. When can a child go forward facing?

    In BC, the law states that a child must be at least 1 year and 10kg (22lb) before they can go forward-facing. It also states that you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the child car seat. At this time there are no child car seats that can go forward-facing before one year of age and 10kg (22lb).

    However, because rear-facing is the safest, it is recommended that you keep your child rear-facing until they have reached the upper rear-facing weight limit for the child car seat. Some car seat manufacturers provide a minimum age limit for using a forward-facing car seat – always check your child car seat manufacturer’s instructions.

    13. Does the tether strap need to be used on a forward-facing car seat?

    In Canada, the tether strap must be used on all forward-facing child car seats. The tether strap restrains the top of the car seat in a crash, preventing the seat from tipping forward in a crash. Without the top of the car seat secured, the car seat can pitch forward in a vehicle crash or sudden stop, and a child’s head can move an additional 4-6 inches further than it would if the car seat was secured at both the top and bottom. ( Car Seat Tethers, Sept. 2017, pg.6)

    14. When can a child move to a booster seat?

    According to BC laws, a child must be at least 18kg (40lb) before they can move to a booster seat. However, booster seats have height restrictions as well so it’s important to read the manufacturer’s instructions to determine if a child can move into a booster seat. It is recommended to keep a child harnessed in a forward-facing child car seat until they reach the seat’s upper weight limit.

    15. When can a child move to the seat belt?

    In BC, a child can move to the seat belt system once they are at least 9 years old or 145 cm (4’9”) tall. However, the height is more important than the age for a child 9 years or older. If a child is less than 145 cm (4’9”) it is recommended that they stay in a booster seat. A child is tall enough to use the lap/shoulder belt without a booster when the child’s back is against the vehicle seat back and:

    • Their knees bend naturally over the front of the vehicle seat and their feet are flat on the floor
    • The shoulder belt fits comfortably over the child’s shoulder and across the chest
    • The lap belt fits low over the child’s hips

    16. Can I wash the car seat cover?

    Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions before washing the car seat cover and/or harnesses. Some manufacturers may allow for the cover and harnesses to be machine washed, others only specify hand or spot washing. They should also be air dried and not placed in the dryer.

    17. Is it okay to feed my child when travelling in my vehicle?

    Choking is a real hazard when travelling in a vehicle. Keep child passengers safer by not allowing them to eat in the car. Eat before you leave or after you arrive at your destination, or plan stops every 1-2 hours on longer trips. You’ll get the bonus of keeping your car cleaner longer too!

    18. When the weather is cold, how do I keep my child warm and safe in their child car seat?

    Learn more about why winter coats and car seats don’t mix.

    19. Which car seat do I buy for my child?

    Learn more about how to choose the right car seat for your child.

    20. My child travels in other people’s vehicles, what should I know?

    Learn more about children riding in someone else’s car.

    21. Where can I get more information?

    We’re here to help! Visit for information and how-to videos or connect with our BCAA Child Passenger Safety Educators by phone: 1.877.247.5551 or email:

    Check to see if Transport Canada or the Government of Canada has posted a safety alert or recall for your child car seat.


    Transport Canada - Safety Recalls





    Government of Canada – Safety Recalls & Alerts





    Transport Canada – Expiry Dates on Child Car Seats and Booster Seats




    BCAA has compiled some resources for you to learn more about child passenger safety.


    BC Motor Vehicle Act Regulations - Division 36





    Parachute Canada




    Order Resources

    Complete our order form for FREE copies of the BCAA fact sheets and brochure.