Buying a Car Seat

A car seat is a critical component of your child's safety, which makes buying the right car seat an important decision. This guide to buying a car seat outlines things you should consider.

Car Seats 101: How to buy the right car seat

A car seat is a piece of equipment that parents should buy before their baby is born. The hospital requires you to have one before leaving, and all infants and toddlers are required by law to be buckled-up. Your local police or fire station may also be able to help you properly install your car seat. Different types of car seats are appropriate for different baby weights and ages, and some even convert to accommodate several weight spans. All car seats have an expiry date: consult your manufacturer specifications as well as your vehicle owner's manual before purchasing, installing and using a car seat.

Types of Car Seats


Infant Car Seats (2 to 20 kg/4 to 45 lbs)

Designed to accommodate baby’s first year or so, infant car seats are rear-facing and are placed at a 45-degree angle to support a child’s head and neck. They are typically intended for newborns up to 10 kg (22 lbs) and 74 to 81 cm tall (29" to 32"), though some models support preemies with weights as low as 2 kg (4lbs) and babies with weights as high as 20 kg (45 lbs). According to Transport Canada, children should remain rear-facing in the car for as long as possible.

Convertible Car Seats (2 to 18 kg/5 to 40 lbs)

Designed to adapt as your child grows, these car seats can be used as rear-facing seats for children from 2 to 14 kg (5 to 30 lbs) and can be converted to forward-facing seats until up to 18 kg (40 lbs). 

Booster Seats (18 to 45 kg/40 to 100 lbs)

These seats come with or without backs, and are made to optimally position your child so that the lap and shoulder restraints are fitted properly. Booster seats are generally used for children that weigh 18 to 45 kg (40 to 100 lbs) and are 100 to 150 cm (40" to 60") tall.

3-in-1 Car Seats (up to 45 kg or 100 lbs.)

This type of seat can be used through all stages of growth. They start out as a rear-facing infant seat, can be converted to front-facing when your child reaches the appropriate weight and height, and then finally transition into a booster seat.

Travel Systems

A baby travel system combines a stroller, infant car seat, carrier and car seat base all in one set. Weight ranges vary depending on use and the manufacturer. They are designed to allow parents to carry baby from stroller to vehicle all within the same carrier, offering great value and convenience for busy moms. Baby travel systems are a particularly great way to transport infants easily and without having to wake them from a nap.

Safety Tips for Mom & Dad

  • Ensure your child fits the weight and height range of the car seat before purchasing
  • Always check the manufacturer’s instructions and your vehicle owner’s manual before installing and using a car seat
  • The safest place in a vehicle for a child is the back seat
  • Never place a car seat or booster seat in the front passenger side of a vehicle that has an active air bag
  • Do not use a rear-facing car seat on the front seat of a vehicle
  • Never use an infant car seat as a crib
  • Never leave a child unattended in a car seat or in a vehicle
  • Never use a car seat that has been involved in an automobile collision
  • Frequent use and exposure to sunlight can damage and weaken plastic

Federal & Provincial Regulations

In Canada, you must have a car seat before leaving the hospital with your baby. All infants and toddlers are required by law to be buckled-up in the appropriate car seat. Provinces and territories also have regulations when it comes to keeping your child safe while in a car. This includes expiry dates for different car seats. As a parent, it's important to become familiar with the laws and regulations in the area in which you live. Also, car seat regulations in the U.S. may differ from Canada which could affect your travel plans. Consult the Transport Canada website for more information.  

Car Seat Features

3-Point Harness +

This style of harness secures your child across the hips and between the legs.

5-Point Harness +

The 5-point harness secures your child at both left and right shoulders in addition to the hips and between the legs.

Anti-Rebound Bar +

A relatively new feature on car seats, the anti-rebound bar stabilizes the car seat by minimizing rotational forces in the event of skidding, a sudden stop or an accident.

Base +

The car seat base allows the seat to be attached and detached without having to uninstall the system.

Built-in Locking Clips +

These clips are used to secure a car seat in older vehicles that do not have UAS (Universal Anchorage System).

Canopy +

The canopy provides shade and protection from the sun.

Chest Clip +

A chest clip serves to help secure the harness shoulder straps in place over the chest at your child’s armpit level.

Energy-Absorbing Foam +

This safety feature offers added protection in the event of an accident.

Handle +

The handle assists with transporting the car seat in and out of the vehicle.

Harness Adjuster Strap +

This tightens the internal harness of a car seat.

Head rest +

The head rest affords a resting place for your child’s head. Many headrests are filled with EPS foam or special plastic, similar to that used in bicycle helmets and protective gear.

Level Indicator +

This helpful device lets you know when the car seat is installed at the correct angle.

Release Handle +

Another important safety feature: only the release handle will allow the car seat to be removed from the base.

Shell +

This refers to the body of the car seat and is generally made of molded plastic.

Universal Anchorage System (UAS) or Lower Anchors and Tethers for Chil +

These systems allows the straps from a car seat to be connected to metal anchors located in the vehicle.

See all +

Shop Car Seat Accessories & Related Products

How to Install a Car Seat

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely, and consider attending a car seat clinic offered in your area. Your car seat’s manufacturer may also have a how-to-install video on their website. Your local police and fire departments may be able to assist you as well.

Caring for your car seat

  • Wipe metal and plastic parts with mild soap and water, and towel dry
  • Do not use bleach or abrasive agents
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning removable upholstery
  • Brush away loose debris and sponge-clean adjuster lock and straps using warm water and mild soap

Did you know?

For the best possible protection keep your baby in a rear-facing child safety seat in a back seat for as long as possible — up to the height or weight limit of the car seat.
By law, you are required to have a car seat to leave the hospital with your baby.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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