As a new mother, I admittedly had no idea how to use our car seat. I mean, I had the logistics of it down – strap the baby in, adjust the straps so there’s no slack between the baby and the seat, and buckle it up – but when it came to installing it into the vehicle, I had no idea.
Child safety restraints are required by law for children under the age of six who weigh less than 18 kilograms (40 pounds) – so I had a quick learning curve ahead of me.
Living downtown, we weren’t driving a lot. When we were driving, Jamie was there to take care of the whole car seat situation. I couldn’t tell you how to put the base of the car seat into the car. I didn’t even know how to adjust the straps, to loosen the straps, making it easier to put the infant in the car seat – and then tighten them again.
Seven years later – a lot has changed.
As a mother to three, I know that safety in the vehicle is essential. In Alberta, the law requires that all occupants travelling in a motor vehicle use a seatbelt or child safety seat that is properly worn and adjusted. As a more seasoned parent than I was seven years ago, I’ve learned not only how to install and adjust our car seats, but have tried at least ten car seats until we found the right fit for our family.
We left Violet rear facing a little longer than we left Olivia rear facing, and will likely leave Stella rear facing a little longer than we left Violet rear facing – that’s the beauty of being a parent, learning and growing each time you welcome another child.
We look for the most comfortable booster seats for road trips, and versatile seats that can be used for infants, toddlers and even preschoolers, and used both rear and forward facing.
With three children, in three different stages of child car restraints, we’ve gotten to know the ins and outs of using the child safety restraints.
How long should you use a booster seat?
Olivia is seven, and is starting to ask to sit without a booster seat in the car. Not only does the booster provide added support for those long road trips in the car – we prefer it because it’s safer. (Learn more about that here). Children who are under nine years of age who weigh between 18 and 36 kilograms (40-80 pounds) or are less than 145 cm (4’9”) tall are safest in a booster seat when riding in a vehicle.
She has already started to ask when she can sit in the car without a booster seat, and tries to swap seats often, sitting in the middle row of the vehicle with the other kids, rather than the third row where the booster seat is, and every single time, we prompt her to get back into her booster seat.
Until she’s at least nine – because it’s safer that way and you can avoid the $155 fine for children that aren’t secured into child seats.
This post has been brought to you by Alberta Transportation. All opinions are our own.