Summary of 2012 Standards

Changes to the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS) were made in May 2010.

New standards are an improvement but the old standards were good. Changes made are designed to update an already rigorous standard to better reflect current vehicles, amalgamate temporary orders into a clear single set of regulations, and to use the more modern set of crash test dummies which better reflect real proportions of children and babies.

What changed in the new crash test standards?

  • infant seats must pass what amounts to an anti-rebound standard (thus changes in handle position)
  • new family of crash test dummies (Hybrid III family)
  • seats must pass when installed separately with UAS, lap belt, lap/shoulder belt
  • test bench changed (more angled seat to reflect more angled seats in real cars)
  • CMVSS changed the definition of ‘child’ to be 22lbs-65lbs (10kgs to 30kgs) and walking unassisted

Manufacturers had the choice to conform to old or new standards through December 31st, 2011. All stock for sale as of January 1st, 2012 must conform to new standards.

  • Includes private sales per the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, and prevents the import, sale, and advertising in Canada of child and infant restraint systems and booster seats that do not meet current CMVSS. This includes giving, lending, or selling privately or through an organization.
  • Seats certified to old standards are still safe to use (provided they’re installed properly, aren’t crashed, expired, recalled, been dropped, checked as luggage on an airplane, had the harness straps washed, or are otherwise damaged); you just can’t pass it on to anyone else.

Health Canada, which is responsible for the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), requires that seats for sale (or giving or loaning) must meet the criteria set out by CMVSS. It is not lawful to sell, distribute, or advertise a seat that does not meet the current criteria of CMVSS.

The crash test standards for car seats are regulated through Transport Canada. Legislation and enforcement of car seat usage is done at the provincial level. The sale/giving/loaning of seats is regulated by Health Canada via the CCPSA.

In British Columbia, provincial law combines with new Federal standards to get the minimum for forward facing as one year AND 22lbs AND walking unassisted — but we of course recommend that children remain rear facing for as long as possible. All seats must be “properly used” per manufacturer’s directions, and this includes booster seats, and children seated in the seat belt only.

More information: