While researching another project recently I came across a scattering of occupant safety milestones, and decided to dig up some more. While by no means a comprehensive history the progression is interesting!

Date Milestone
1949 First crash test dummy created "Sierra Sam" to test ejector seats for the US Air Force
1955 Seat belts were optional on Fords
1959 Volvo makes lap/shoulder belts standard equipment in their cars
1962 First car seat invented by Leonard Rivkin of Denver Colorado
1962 First crash test dummy for automotive use
1968 First car seats developed on a large scale for child occupant protection
1970 World's first seat belt law for front seat occupants enacted in Australia
1971 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) adopted first federal standard for child seating systems FMVSS 213; requirements did not include crash testing.
1972 Volvo makes lap/shoulder belts in the rear standard equipment
1972 Consumer Reports car seat testing show most were grossly inadequate
1976 Ontario makes wearing a seat belt mandatory
1978 First law passed in North America (Tennessee) requiring infants and young children to be restrained in a seat that met FMVSS 213.
1981 Pre-tensioners introduced to seat belts by Mercedes
1987 Alberta makes wearing a seat belt mandatory
1989 (Canada) Pre-drilled holes or marked dimples required for tether anchor assembly for 1989 model year
1989 (US) Shoulder belts become standard in rear outboard seating positions in the US for 1990 model year
1995 Sept 1995 (model year 1996) seat belts are required to lock pre-crash in the US – Canada gets the feature as well on models available in both countries
1995 Driver's side air bags mandatory in the US
1999 Model year 2000 (Sept 1999) all passenger cars came equipped with factory installed user-ready tether anchorages
2000 Model year 2001 (Sept 2000) all vans/light trucks/SUVs came equipped with factory installed user-ready tether anchorages
2002 As of 1-Sep-2002 all child restraints must come with lower anchor connectors and all Canadian passenger vehicles must come with lower anchors in at least two seating positions
2005 (US) Dual-stage air bags required (some prior will also have them)
2008 (US) Lap/shoulder belt required in rear middle seating position
2011 GM introduces dynamic locking latch plates (DLLP) in the front seats of some vehicles
2011 Ford offers inflatable belts as an option in rear seating positions on some models
2015 Seat belts are required to lock pre-crash in Canada
20?? What advances are in our future? Will we look back in horror twenty years from now?



photoHello, Id like to nominate a good friend of mine Cathy. Cathy has 5 children , her youngest being Randy at the age of 3. I actually steered Cathy away from her 3 in one eddie bauer seats and introduced her to the britax seats when he was ready for a carseat! She uses a marathon for him in her van but she is a school bus driver and has a cosco sceneria for him to ride in her bus for her daily route but he is quickly outgrowing it. I feel for her concern to keep him in the 5 point harness on her bus as our buses rarely get cancelled even when they should be cancelled and unlike me who may choose to keep my kids home so they don’t have to endure the unsafe ride on the bus she being the driver has no choice but to take him with her. Also he still has his afternoon nap on the afternoon run so he needs the comfort of his carseat as well. We had a discussion and both feel a seat like a nautilus or a frontier would be the best choice so he can continue to use it after hes outgrown his marathon, preferably the simplist install and lightest weight as she sometimes has to make quick switches from bus to bus.

Thank you for considering my friends Cathy and Randy

An itsy bitsy Lukas
Snug in his bucket seat
Graco Snugride 35
Its safety hard to beat

A fave seat of VICarSeatTechs
Their reviews & tips I trust
In shopping for Luke’s next car seat
Read through their site I must

So many seats to choose from
Where to even start
A dozen brands of options
From Amazon to Walmart

Lukas is a tall boy
A consideration to be sure
You narrowed down the choices
Your passion true and pure

So now the big decision
The Foonf or Diono
I’m leaning towards the higher base
But can’t go wrong, I know

So much I didn’t know of
But now I can attest
V. I. Car Seat Technicians
Truly are the best!

IMG_1753I have 2 kids. They will be 5 and 2 in April. When I had my oldest daughter I knew nothing about car seats and am ashamed to say I just thought they were all the same and it wasn’t a big deal. We bought a snugride 22 that was on sale cheap (later found out it was 2 years old already and that was why). We were lucky that both our kids were tall and they both *just* fit with the straps below the shoulders. Now almost 5 years later I have become obsessed with car seats and safety. I go crazy watching all my daughters friends go into preschool after getting out of no back boosters. Most of them are 4 but very few are above 40lbs so they aren’t even legal. I have taught my kids that they are being safe. My daughter has taken on my obsession and now will tell people in stores that car seats don’t go on the carts or that the chest clip is too low. People seem to be interested when she tells them and they ask questions. All of them have been receptive to me helping them but I think if it wasn’t for her being the first one to say something they wouldn’t have listened. My daughter is now in a Britax Frontier XT in one vehicle and the CT in the other. Our Ct really doesn’t work well and is very hard to get it tight enough and we have been frustrated with it. My son is still rear facing and will be for a long time. We took advantage of the sale on the Evenflo sureride when it came to Canada. We even got it for my parents vehicle. We also have an APT for him. We have a Britax marathon that we used for my daughter but it is an older one (expires 2015) and only rear faces to 32 inches so that one is just not able to be used. I have passed on the seat to a cousin that was in need and could safely use it. I am bad for passing on my seats to those in need as I know that I have treated them properly and I want all children to be safe. I have even passed on one of my daughters frontiers to someone that still needed a harness. I am now scouting out seats that my husbands second cousin can use for an unexpected little bundle due in June. She doesn’t understand car seat safety and her mom gave her an old seat that was used 20 years ago. She is willing to learn and I am willing to teach! This is my son coming home and the straps are just below the shoulders.

DSC_9579This is my miracle baby, Abigail, nice and snug in her car seat ready to brave this winter! My story is about myself though 😉 I am a former car seat tech (had to take a break due to personal reasons) but I was very active in my community and on-line helping to educate those in my mommyhood. The other day, the subject of those “Healthy Canadians” commercials came up in a Facebook group I am a member of. Someone said “Those commercials remind me of Annabel”…I have never been so proud 🙂 They are listening 🙂

IMG_0287My name is Charli and I was born in July 2013. I am still pretty brand new but looking back at pictures, I am amazed how much I have grown! Mommy says that in just a couple of inches and a few more pounds I will need a new seat. As you can see, I was not a big fan of “the seat” the first time they locked me in. It was cold and scary and there was no mommy in there with me. But then they put that cold mommy-less seat in the car… OH the CAR!! I love the car, it is my happy place! I just wanted you to know that I can tell when my mommy has been reading your website or that funny page with the blue strip at the top, almost immediately she starts doing something new. My favourite was when she did something to the straps that lock me in tight, she made them way more comfortable and I felt so much safer once they were a bit longer! Thanks for teaching my mommy what I need to be safe. The other thing she started doing is the extra wiggle of the seat when she puts me in the car, it makes an extra click and I think it makes my mom happy. I like it when my mommy is happy. Although I have become very much attached to my current seat, I would love for you to give me a new one so that I can sit up taller.

I have started driving my son’s friend to and from school when he moved out of our school area (his parents don’t have a vehicle) so he wouldn’t have to move to his 4th school since the start of the school year. I have committed to driving him home from school and have found someone else to drive him to school. A friend gave us 2 older booster (still good until the end of the school year!) but I would love for this little guy to have cool seat of his own. He is a great kid who deserves something new.

I am a big fan of your website and have used it many times for myself and have referred others to it as well. I am very happy with our car seats (Diono Radian RXT and also Graco Snugride 35).

I wanted to nominate a family that is in need of four car seats. This particular family is a grandma who took custody of her four grandkids to keep the family together (she still has a teenager living at home, too). She had to quit work as the youngest is only 4 mos old, but she gets no support for the kids, of whom the older ones are 7, 5, and 3.

Here is a quick story of our journey to better car seat safety:

In early 2006, we welcomed our very first babe. We were young and keen and thought we had it all figured out. When he turned one, we did what ‘all’ parents did and invested in our first convertable car seat, and turned our 20lb babe forward facing. After all, that was what was suggested at the time, and what the car seat manufacturers, public health, ICBC etc. recommended. In 2008, we welcomed another baby to the family, this time a wee girl! When she turned one, she had not reached 20lbs, and much to everyone’s dismay, we kept her rear facing until she reached that point at a whopping 15 months. Not gonna lie, we felt pretty darn proud of ourselves for going against the ‘norm’ and keeping her rear facing until she actually reached all of the requirements, When it seemed that most turned at one whether they were big enough or not. Fast forward to early 2011 and along comes baby number 3 – another boy:-) I spent the next year of his life researching the heck out of car seats and car seat safety, and when he turned one, without hesitation, we kept him rear facing. Which he remained up until he was nearly 3. We now have another beautiful baby girl, who is nearly 5 months old, who will remaining rear facing for a LONG time!

Although, I do have serious mommy guilt thinking back on how we did things with our first two, when you know better, you do better, and that is exactly what we have done. Thanks to Facebook pages and websites like this, we all have access to loads of valuable information as well as help and support from some amazingly knowledgable ladies, and I know I speak not only for my own family, but many many others, when i say, that we are beyond thankful for that!

We are now on the cusp of needing two more seats for our brood. A full sized seat for our little babe, that we are able to use for extended rear facing, and a forward facing seat for our skinny mini almost 6 year old who has nearly out grown her forward facing seat by height, but is only a whopping 32lbs, and has a long way to go before she can be out of a 5 point harness!
Thank you for this wonderful contest that our family would be absolutely thrilled to win!!

Updated December 2019.

You’ve done the research, bought the right seat for your child and situation, and had it checked by a tech and properly installed. All of this is to keep your child safe in the event of a crash, though everyone hopes it will never happen to them. But if you are involved in a crash, what now?

Hopefully no one was seriously hurt. Document everything, and take photos if possible.  Call the police if necessary.  If a child needs medical assistance sometimes the first responders will keep them in their car seats for transport – they’ll cut the seat right out of the vehicle as the seat itself acts like a backboard of sorts.  And then…

Photo Credit: CPST Megan Robertson
Styrofoam dented from impact with child’s head.  Photo Credit: CPST Megan Robertson

Can I keep using my seat after a crash?

The short answer is, probably not. The forces in even a minor crash can compromise the plastic and/or webbing on a seat, even if you can’t see any damage. There is no way to re-certify a seat after a crash, and no one in Canada is authorized or able to check and approve crashed seats for re-use, despite claims to the contrary that we sometimes see online.

If you are unsure whether your seat is safe for re-use, check the car seat manual or call the manufacturer. The majority of manufacturers say you must replace your seat after any crash, even a minor one, and even if the seat is not occupied. Even unoccupied, the seat has still been subjected to forces along the belt path and (in the event of a forward-facing seat) top tether.

There are a very few seats that may be safe to reuse after a minor crash, as defined by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), which is a US organization. Check your car seat manual to find out if yours is one of them.  Your manual, if applicable, will state a list similar to this if the seat does not require replacement after a minor crash.

These seats were not cut or moved after this crash; this is how much the belts stretched. Credit: Anne
These seats were not cut or moved after this crash; this is how much the belts stretched.
  • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;
  • The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;
  • There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants (this includes neck or back pain);
  • The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
  • There is no visible damage to the safety seat

Since you’re not advised to use the seat again even once how do you get home from a crash scene?  If possible have someone bring a seat to you — a new one purchased en route, or maybe a parent friend has a similarly sized child and can deliver you home in their seat.  Send one parent via taxi to a store to pick one up, or home to get a spare from your other vehicle or basement.  Do what you can as ideally no child will ever ride in that crashed seat again.

One of the most common questions we get when it comes to crashes, is whether a particular crash “counts”.  Questions like “I backed into a post in the parking lot” or “I bounced off the snow bank and there’s a tiny dent in the bumper.” Unfortunately, this isn’t a judgment call we as techs can or should make. If there is any doubt as to whether the crash warrants replacing the seats, you should call the car seat manufacturer themselves and talk to them. Note that Transport Canada itself states that child restraints should be replaced after any crash, no matter how minor, and does not follow the US NHTSA guidelines.

If the vehicle damage is being covered by insurance, the car seats may be too. Insurance policies of private or public insurance companies can vary widely. Some insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with when trying to have car seats replaced, even if the policy does cover them. Being firm, pointing out the replacement requirement in the car seat manuals, and remaining insistent can work. Remember that even an unoccupied seat needs to be replaced.  If you continue to have difficulty with your insurance company please be in touch with us and we’ll see if we have any ideas specific to your situation.

Photo credit: Casey Leach
Seats were moved by first responders to access injured passengers in the 3rd row.

Try to avoid having the insurance company pay you a prorated amount based on the age of the car seat because to replace it, you have to pay full price. Generally they will want a receipt for the old seat and a receipt for the new one, and will give you an amount for the lesser of the two values. Depending on your adjuster, they may insist you purchase the exact same seat. If you don’t have your old receipt, usually sending them a listing of the car seat online will be enough.

If the vehicle is not covered under insurance, it should fall to the person who is at fault to cover the cost of replacing the car seats.  In the event of a severe crash, the car seat manufacturer themselves may replace the seat for you in exchange for the crashed one. They often find it useful to examine seats involved in “real world” crashes to aid in the research, development and design of future restraints. Contact the manufacturer of your seat to inquire about this option.

Credit: CPST Megan Robertson
Dismantled seats after a crash. Credit: CPST Megan Robertson
First responder photo
First responder photo

As for what to do with the old seat, you can keep the cover off the seat if you want, for use or for sale for another identical seat, but everything else including the harness should be destroyed or recycled. Sometimes a local car seat technician might like the seat to use for training purposes, and we have exemptions to use seats for this purpose from Health Canada. Some areas have recycling depots that will take old car seats. Otherwise, it will need to be thrown out. Cut the straps and padding, write “Crashed, do not use” on the shell, even take a hammer or a saw to it, and bag it up so it isn’t obvious what it is. Do not under any circumstances sell or pass on a seat that has been in a crash, however minor. This is also one reason it is not recommended to buy a used seat unless you trust the seller with your child’s life, as damage from a crash is not always obvious and you don’t know if the seller has been in a crash and chose not to count it as such.

Credit: Rachel
Very minor injuries occurred in this crash thanks to properly installed seats.  Credit: Rachel

If insurance is covering the cost, they will normally want proof that the seat has been destroyed and will not be reused. Often the body shops or mechanic shops fixing the cars are able to do this and will destroy and dispose of the seat for you. Some insurance companies may collect the seats themselves.

Remember also to contact your vehicle manufacturer about whether your seat belts should be replaced (if seats were installed with seat belt), and/or whether the lower anchors or top tether are still safe to use (if seats were installed with UAS).

As always, if you need any tips or advice on choosing a new seat, dealing with insurance, or making sure you have a proper install in a new seat and/or vehicle, you can contact a tech or ask on our Facebook page for help.

Special thanks to those who shared their photos with us for this post. To read more of the stories behind some of the pictures, see:

Anne’s story: Why I Do What I Do

Rachel’s story: Is rear facing safe when you’re rear ended?

Casey’s story: My crash story

Harper, aged 2.5, rides rear facing and scowls as her mom fusses with her seat.
Harper, aged 2.5, rides rear facing and scowls as her mom fusses with her seat.


VANCOUVER ISLAND — More than 98.8% of car seats are installed or used incorrectly.

At least that’s the statistic observed by Jen Shapka, a technician/instructor with the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada. Shapka co-founded Vancouver Island Car Seat Techs almost two years ago after moving to Vancouver Island with a military spouse.

“I’d recently been certified as a car seat technician in Ontario and saw the immediate difference it could make to a child’s safety,” said Shapka. “When I arrived in the Comox Valley, I hunted around and couldn’t find any organizations making a real difference for kids in vehicles so I found some like-minded women on the Island and Vancouver Island Car Seat Techs was born.”

As the great demand for car seat help grew, traffic picked up quickly on the Facebook page the women started, and the resulting website they developed. Momentum picked up.  Jen became an Instructor with the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada (CPSAC) and the Island now boasts 52 trained and certified car seat technicians. Some, like the busy techs who volunteer at free clinics organized up and down Vancouver Island, do it because it’s a passion. Others help parents and families through their work places. Every single one has made a difference reducing the primary accidental cause of death of children in Canada.

Shapka herself has personally checked 437 car seats on Vancouver Island in her two years posted here, and only five of them didn’t require correction of misuse.

“Studies indicate that children traveling in an appropriate, properly used restraint can reduce the likelihood of death by 70% and injury by 67%,” said Shapka. “There’s really no reason not to ensure your kids are riding safely.”

Indeed, Stats Canada says that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14. In 2010 61 children under the age of 14 were killed in motor vehicle crashes, 501 were seriously injured, and 9342 others suffered minor to moderate injuries.

Shapka is once again preparing to pack up and move her family across the country this summer – her seventh move in 11 years. She’s extremely proud of the fantastic network of technicians she’s helped to train and mentor, including another instructor who will continue to teach and certify new technicians. There is also a loyal following of hundreds, if not thousands of parents who reach out and ask for the help they were previously unable to find before Vancouver Island Car Seat Technicians came to be.

“There is a troubling trend of bad advice out there,” Shapka said. “I’ve personally corrected errors made by technicians with out-dated or incomplete information. We formed Vancouver Island Car Seat Technicians to buck that trend and be a reliable source of information.”

Technicians certified by CPSAC receive a national certification and ongoing re-certification. They remain current on new laws, recalls, and other safety concerns. The Vancouver Island Car Seat Techs also maintain an active communication amongst each other and reach out for assistance from other techs when needed.

Experienced, certified, and up-to-date help can be found online at, on Facebook at VICarSeatTechs, and in person in many communities up and down Vancouver Island.

Updated December 2019.

This information is modified to be Canada-specific from a guideline developed by the Manufacturers Alliance for Child Passenger Safety.

What is a CPST?

Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPSTs) are people across Canada who have successfully completed the national training program offered by the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada (CPSAC). This course is approximately 20 hours long and involves classroom learning combined with in-vehicle practice to learn the basics of child passenger safety.

The role of a CPST is to provide education and support, acting as a skilled coach to empower caregivers to keep their kids safe in the car. CPSTs may not have the answers to all of your questions, but they do have a large cross-Canada network of other CPSTs to reach out to, as well as manufacturer contacts for brand-specific inquiries. The car seat check experience is an interactive one. This means you will be participating to the best of your abilities! As the caregiver, you should leave feeling confident that your child’s seat is installed correctly and that you are comfortable reinstalling and using it correctly. To ensure that you have the best experience you should prepare for a hands-on education session.

CPSTs are involved in child passenger safety in many different ways. Some do this work as part of their jobs, such as public health, law enforcement, or family resource centres; some are community volunteers who dedicate their time and knowledge providing a community service; and some provide one-on-one seat check sessions for a fee as part of their own small business.

Don’t be afraid to card your tech, and ask to see proof of their current certification.  If the technician is not a  CPSAC tech ask what their qualifications, certification, and experience are, and ensure they are both knowledgeable and up to date.

Who should meet with a CPST?

Victoria clinic photo

Anyone who transports kids. Are you a parent, grandparent, daycare provider, volunteer driver, carpooler, or caregiver of any other kind? Chances are (laws vary by province) that the driver is the one responsible for ensuring that child passengers are properly buckled up, regardless of whose kids they are, who installed the seat, or who put the child into the seat.

What does a seat check cost?

That depends on how the CPST is doing their work. If you have access to a CPST in your community through a public service or other resource, there may be no charge to you because their employer is funding the program.

Some technicians set a flat rate for a seat check, or charge on a sliding scale depending on need. There is no employer funding their work, and so they charge a fee for their time, expenses, and knowledge.

Sometimes CPSTs will organize a community car seat clinic event, and often those in attendance are volunteering their time. They may ask for a donation from caregivers to fund the service. Sometimes they have received sponsorship from a supporting organization or business. We love community partners!

Some technicians work strictly as volunteers, providing supplies out of their own pocket.  Some will accept tips or donations to purchase things such as pool noodles and photocopies, and would certainly appreciate small tokens of appreciation from you such as a coffee card or cash tip.

Ask about cost when making arrangements to meet with a technician. Many have websites and will list their fees, or state up front there is no charge.


Before Your Seat Check

Plan Ahead

Seek the help of a CPST before you even purchase a seat. There are many online groups and sources to help with shopping advice. Do your research and connect with CPSTs who provide helpful, thoughtful advice that is based on your needs and wants. They may ask questions to guide your purchase that you never thought to consider. There are great seats available at all price points and CPSTs want you to be happy with what you choose.

If you have any tricky seating situations — tiny car and tall parents, many children to fit, something else — taking the time to buy the right seat is especially important. If you are car shopping, read this first.

If you are pregnant, schedule an appointment 1 to 2 months prior to your due date. Many CPSAC technicians work as volunteers and have their own families and jobs to work around, and some moms deliver early. Several CPSTs we know have completed seat checks while mom is in labour, or get a panicked call from a partner that the baby came early and they need help right now because baby is being discharged in two hours. Please don’t leave things to the very end!

Read Your Manuals – Both of Them!

We can not overstate the importance of this step. One of the most helpful parts of meeting with a CPST is interpreting and understanding your car seat manual and your vehicle manual. They can be confusing – but have a read through in advance so you are somewhat familiar with what is involved.


Try Installing

Using the car seat manual, install the seat into your vehicle prior to your appointment.  If you do not have a manual, contact the manufacturer of your seat prior to your appointment to obtain one. Many have them available online, or can send you a PDF for quick reference on your phone.

Look up “Child Safety Seats” or “Child Restraints” in your vehicle owner’s manual. You will learn how a child’s car seat should be installed in your car. The car seat manual may not reference the requirements specific to your vehicle.  If you do not have a vehicle owner’s manual, contact the manufacturer of your vehicle prior to your appointment to obtain one, or check online as many have them easily downloadable.

Bring both manuals with you to your appointment.

Measure Your Child(ren)

Know your child’s weight and height. Bring your child with you to the seat check. If possible, also bring another adult to help watch the child while you are learning. It’s hard to absorb the information and fully participate in a seat check if you’re also chasing kids. Be prepared to learn, not just watch the CPSAC technician install the car seat. They’re trained to teach you, not install it for you. If another adult isn’t possible, plan ahead with snacks, games or toys, or containment devices such as a stroller or baby carrier.

Tidy Your Car

We don’t mean you have to get it detailed. But it’s much easier for everyone to work if you move excess stuff out of your car. The technician — and then you — will be in your vehicle. Move things off the floor and the back seat so there’s space to work. Depending on the type of car seat and vehicle it’s possible the technician will need to access the rear of your SUV or van, so having the trunk/back hatch space clear is also helpful.


At the Seat Check

How long does it take?


This one-on-one education session typically takes about 45 minutes for one car seat in one car, depending on the car seat(s) and the vehicle. The CPST should take all the time necessary to ensure that you feel competent and confident in re-installing the car seat into the vehicle and re-buckling your child into the car seat on your own.

Seat checks that involve multiple car seats or cars will of course take longer.

The very rare seat check is shorter, usually because the caregiver has read and understood the manual, there are no complications to troubleshoot, and has few questions.

If you have arranged a private check with a CPST, the location, time, and cost (if any) will be prearranged.  If you are attending a car seat clinic you may have an appointment time, or are trying your luck by dropping in. If you are attending a seat check event that is part of a technician training course, be aware that the technicians-in-training are new and still learning. Be understanding, and know that they are being supervised by their instructor.

What exactly goes on during a seat check?

During the seat check, a CPST will:

  • Have you sign a liability waiver.
  • Fill out a check form with details about your vehicle, seat, and child. You will usually be offered a copy of this form, either in paper or digital form.
  • The technician will uninstall the seat, even if it appears to be perfectly installed when you arrive.
  • Review the car seat manual and the vehicle owner’s manual with the caregiver and ensure that both are being followed correctly. If no manual is available the CPST will reference labels on the seat, or may be able to access a matching manual online. They will advise you to acquire a manual from the manufacturer. If a specific question comes up that the manual can not address, and it’s business hours, you may call the manufacturer’s customer service department together.
  • Ensure that an appropriate seating position in the vehicle is being used.
  • Check the car seat for recalls, visible damage, and an expiration date.
  • crst2If you are not the original owner of the seat, the technician will discuss the risks of a used seat.
  • Troubleshoot and try the installation.
  • Have you install the car seat(s) correctly using either the seat belt or UAS. You are encouraged to ask to learn how to install the seat with either system or in different seating positions, where time allows.
  • Discuss the next steps for each child, such as when to move to the next type of car seat.
  • Discuss the benefits of everyone riding properly restrained, including all adults and pets.
  • Discuss safety in and around the vehicle.
  • Discuss and demonstrate proper fit of your child in the seat.
  • Discuss your provincial laws and best practice recommendations for occupant safety.
  • Document any observations, changes, or advice given during the seat check. You may have homework or follow-up items to address.
  • After the seat check, ensure you can say yes to ALL of these questions:
    • Did you perform the final installation or assist in performing the final installation?
    • Do you feel confident about installing and using the car seat correctly?
    • Were your questions answered? If not, were you given direction as to whom you should contact or will the CPSAC technician follow up with you?


I’m convinced. How do I find a CPST near me?

CPSAC technicians who are able to meet with caregivers are listed on CPSAC’s Find A Tech map. Reach out to someone near you. If there isn’t anyone near you, CPSAC may be able to help. Contact them at

I would like to become a CPST. How do I do that?

CPST training courses are offered across Canada by the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada. Currently scheduled courses can be seen here. The busiest times for courses are April-June and September-October. Just like CPSTs, instructors may be employed by an organization that hosts and funds much of the training, such as public health or law enforcement, or they may work independently. As such, cost for training varies widely.

CPSAC instructors plan courses when and where there is demand. If you are motivated to attend a course it may make sense for you to host one! Working with community partners to build CPST capacity in your area takes some work and planning, but is well worth the effort. If this might apply to you, reach out to CPSAC at for more information.

We now have a new space on the web! This is still a work in progress and we will be updating and adding new resources and links over the next little while. Your feedback is welcome. Please let us know if you have suggestions for blog posts or any information you would like to see here.

Updated December 2019; retained for archival purposes but now largely irrelevant to caregivers.

“2012 Compliance” refers to CMVSS standards that came into effect on January 1, 2012. See a summary of changes here. Most seats affected by this changeover have now expired.

Anything with a date of manufacturer (DOM) in 2012 or later IS compliant, and thus, may not be specifically named on this list. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer directly with the model number and manufacture date.


Baby Trend

Compliant seats have a date of manufacture after mid-late September 2011. Exact date unknown.



Infant seats:

B-Safe is compliant. Unknown when Chaperone became compliant. Companion is not compliant.

Infant/Child seats:

Seats became compliant around July 2011.

Compliant seats: minimum forward-facing weight limit is 22lbs, requires walking unassisted to forward-face.

Compliant seats have a long skinny manual (like a tri-fold brochure shape), non-compliant seats have a shorter, squarish manual.

Child/Booster seats:

Frontier XT and SICT became compliant around July 2011.  Compliant seats have a long skinny manual (like a tri-fold brochure shape), non-compliant seats have a shorter, squarish manual.

Booster seats:

Dates of compliance unknown. Compliant seats have a long skinny manual (like a tri-fold brochure shape), non-compliant seats have a shorter, squarish manual.



KeyFits with handle UP in the vehicle is the defining clue: if it allows any locked position it is not compliant. If the seat requires the handle up it IS compliant. All KeyFit 30s are compliant.


Dorel (Cosco, Safety 1st, Eddie Bauer)

See this thread here for more specific info.
Dorel is denying the accuracy of the list now, but while incomplete, it appears to be accurate based on what we know for sure.

Infant Seats:

Handle up means the seat is compliant on anything produced in 2010 or 2011. Any seat produced in 2012 is compliant regardless of handle position.

Infant/Child seats:

Scenera –
*compliant as of Jan 13/2011 for model # 22101
*compliant as of Dec 7/2011 for model #22118 (black I think)
*compliant as of Dec 8/2011 for model #22118 Margo colour (pink?)
– physical change on some was no cup holder anymore as the change in shell shape prevented the cup from fitting/working there

OnSide Air
*compliant as of Jan 7/2011 for model# 22142
*compliant as of Feb 7/2011 for model# 22141
*all other model #s are compliant

Complete Air: 2012 compliant models

    • now has an adjustable base on all models
    • ff’ing weight limit raised to 65lbs
    • walking unassisted clearly stated as a requirement for ff’ing both in the manual and on the stickers of the seat.
    • dual line recline indicator.
    • change in shape at the front of the seat

Infant/child/booster seats: 2012 compliant models

  • the elite models had the “tabs” for adjusting the harness height changed from red to gray
  • elite models have the handle for adjusting recline changed to gray. (regular models still have red handle.)
  • rf’ing weight limit is raised to 40lbs, ff’ing weight limit raised to 65lbs
  • have dual line indicators.
  • shell is visibly different at the front edges where a child’s hands would rest
  • walking unassisted clearly stated as a requirement for ff’ing both in the manual and on the stickers of the seat.
  • rf’ing height limit raised to 36″

Unknown. Possibly the requirement to walk unassisted in the manual and on labels is the defining feature.

Summit –
*compliant as of Aug 8/2011 for model #22559
*compliant as of Oct 7/2011 for model #22806 (glenso colour)
*compliant as of Nov 10/2011 for model #22806 (Vancouver colour)

Booster seats:

Pronto –
*compliant as of Oct 6/2011 for limelight
*compliant as of Dec 7/2011 for pink
*compliant as of Oct 11/2011 for irondale
High Rise –
*compliant as of 9/26/2011


Model Name Model Number (begins with) Compliant As Of
Amp High Back 319 10 October 2011
Big Kid No-back Booster 279 9 August 2011
Big Kid Booster 309 5 January 2011
Chase 329 16 June 2011
Embrace 331 30 June 2011
Embrace 35 315 22 August 2011
Generations 65 376 20 June 2011
Momentum 385 26 September 2011
Secure Ride 541 12 July 2011
SureRide all all
Symphony 65 345 7 October 2011
Symphony 65 346 7 October 2011
Titan 65 all all
Titan Elite 370 30 August 2011
Triumph Advance 65 382 7 September 2011


First Years/Lamaze

Infant Seat: Lamaze-branded Via 35 – RECALLED – discontinue use.

Infant/child: Lamaze-branded True Fit is compliant.

C670 model (with anti-rebound bar) is compliant IF the seat is labeled to require the shoulder belt opposite the buckle to be routed OVER the lock-off. Some were held back with DOMs as early as January 2010 and re-labeled with this change. Most will be May/June 2010 or later to be compliant.

All models without the anti-rebound bar are not compliant.

Booster seats: Not sure what the defining features might be. Call TOMY (parent company) to ask.



All seats that are compliant have a model number beginning with ’18’ or ’19’ or higher.

Infant seats:

SnugRide 30 – compliant.

SnugRide 35 – two-piece infant padding, handle required to be up, bolsters at front edge of seat, expiration of 7 years, and 4lb minimum all changed on compliant seats.

SnugRide (with 22lb weight limit) – handle required to be up and expiration of 7 years on compliant seats

Infant/child seats:

MyRide – compliant seats have a two-piece infant support/cushions, bolsters on the front corners of the seat

Comfort Sport – not compliant

Nautilus: Forward-facing weight limit increased to 22lbs on compliant seats. Expiration also changed to 10 years from DOM.

Nautilus Elite – compliant.

Turbo Booster: Model numbers beginning with 18 are compliant. Expiration also changed to 10 years from DOM.

Affix – compliant


Peg Perego

The 30/30 is compliant. All car seats manufactured from December 2010 to present meet the new 2012 regulations. They also expire within 7 years. Anything before that date is non-compliant and will expire within 5 years from the manufacture date.

The Peg Convertible and the newest infant seat 4.35 are both compliant, having DOMs in 2012 or later.


Sunshine Kids (now Diono)

No Sunshine Kids-branded seat is 2012 compliant. Some passed by crash testing but not by labelling or manuals.