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Get the latest carseat news here: recalls, conference updates and other child passenger safety current events.

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Register Your Seat

Be sure to send in the registration card for your carseat. It's the only way the manufacturer can contact you if there's a consumer advisory or recall for your seat. If you lost the card, you can register online at most manufacturers' web sites or call them to register.

Recommended Carseats

ALL carseats save lives when installed and used correctly each time!

I have compiled this list of carseats based on my observations of what parents and caregivers are recommending to each other and it is not complete by any means. Within each entry is listed features, disadvantages, and comments as I and others have found with use. I also link to a review if one has been done on my blog. As you peruse the list, think about which features you are interested in that may make the carseat easier to use, such as an easy-to-use harness adjuster, that make it easier to install, such as built-in locking clips, and that give the seat a longer life for your child, such as high top harness slots. 

Remember that the "best" seat is the carseat that fits your car, your child and your budget. Only you can decide which features are important to you and your child.

means that the seat is currently available in the US.
means that the seat is currently available in Canada.
means that the seat is FAA-approved.

Page last updated: 09/03/12


Infant Seats

Convertible Seats

Extended Rear-Facing Convertible Seats

Combination Seats

Belt Positioning Boosters

Higher Weight Harness Seats (carseats for kids over 40 lbs.)

Travel Seats

Special Needs Seats

Canadian Help


Infant Seats
These seats are rear-facing only seats and are used for infants. Many parents prefer infant seats for their flexibility and portability. Children usually outgrow infant seats around age 1. Those children who do outgrow infant seats around age 1 should use a rear-facing convertible seat until the convertible's rear-facing weight limit is reached or the child's head reaches 1" from the top of the carseat. Children should remain rear-facing until at least age 2.


          
Available at: Amazon.com, Babies R Us (BRU), baby specialty stores, and online
Features: 4-30 lbs.; 5-point harness with front adjuster; no re-thread harness height adjustment; infant-sized chest clip; anti-rebound bar on adjustable base; harness and belly pads; built-in seat belt lockoff; push-on LATCH connectors; EPS foam; adjustable canopy
Drawbacks: large base will hang off vehicle seat, which Britax addresses in their FAQ on their webpage
Comments: Fits preemies well. Available in Canada to a maximum weight limit of 22 lbs. only.
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com, Babies-R-Us (BRU), baby specialty stores, and online
Features: 4-30 lbs.; 5-point harness with front adjuster; infant-sized chest clip; anti-rebound adjustable base that stays in the car; "center-pull" LATCH adjustment; built-in seat belt lockoffs; storage compartment in base for manual and small toys; EPS foam; newborn insert (4-11 lbs. use only); harness pads; well-padded cover; canopy that rotates 180°; handle can remain upright in vehicle
Drawbacks:
Comments: The Chicco KeyFit 22 has a maximum weight limit of 22 lbs. and is only available in a travel system. Read the box labels carefully to be sure of which seat you're buying. Available in Canada to a maximum weight limit of 22 lbs. only without a travel system.      
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com, Babies-R-Us (BRU)
Features: 4-32 lbs.; 5-point harness with front adjuster; anti-rebound adjustable base that stays in the car; Belt Tensioning Plate tightens belt for you; recline positions for 4-22 lbs. and 22-32 lbs.; EPS foam; newborn fabric insert and separate EPS foam newborn inlay (4-11 lbs. inlay use only); harness pads; well-padded cover; fits in compact vehicles well; handle must remain upright in vehicle
Drawbacks: small canopy
Comments: One of the easiest infant seats to install on the market.
Review: Reviews can be found here and here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, Babies-R-Us (BRU), Target
Features: 4-30 lbs.; 5-point harness with front adjuster; both lap and shoulder straps adjust in length; adjustable base that stays in the car; EPS foam; canopy that rotates 180°; handle can remain upright in vehicle; tested to NCAP crash test standard (not required for carseats)
Drawbacks: buckle may be difficult to use
Comments: The replacement base for the SnugRide 30 is the SnugRide 35 base. The squarish SnugRide 30 base without a lockoff is only included in the box with the infant carrier itself.
For Canadians only: Handle must be in upright position (position A) while in the vehicle.
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, Babies-R-Us (BRU), Target, Wal-Mart, and online
Features: 4-35 lbs.; 5-point harness with front adjuster; both lap and shoulder straps adjust in length; adjustable base that stays in the car; built-in lockoff on base; EPS foam; some models have memory foam; canopy that rotates 180°; handle can remain upright in vehicle; tested to NCAP crash test standard (not required for carseats)
Drawbacks: buckle may be difficult to use; weight of seat
Comments: Look for weight limits on the bases since the bases cannot be interchanged with SnugRides of different weight limits; e.g., you cannot use a SnugRide 35 on a SnugRide 32 base.

The Teutonia t-tario 35 is the same as the SnugRide 35, but has more padding and fancier covers.

For Canadians only: Handle must be in upright position (position A) while in the vehicle.
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, Target, and online
Features: 4-35 lbs.; 5-point harness with front adjuster; low bottom harness slots; made to fit small babies well with customizable padding inserts; open cell foam "Air Protect" cushions; handle can remain upright in vehicle; EPS foam; adjustable base that stays in the car; built-in lockoff; push-on LATCH connectors
Drawbacks:
For Canadians only: Maximum weight limit is 22 lbs. Handle must be in upright position while in the vehicle.
Review: Reviews can be found here and here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!

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Infant/Toddler Seats (Convertible Seats)
These are seats that can be used rear-facing for an infant, then turned forward-facing for an older toddler. Children must face the rear of the vehicle until at least age 2 at the minimum. It is safer for a child to rear-face until the rear-facing weight limit is reached or until the child's head reaches 1” from the top of the carseat. Depending on how the seat is outgrown, a child may need a combination seat, a higher weight harness seat or a booster seat after using a convertible seat.


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, online and specialty stores
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-70 lbs. forward-facing; LATCH-equipped for children up to 40 lbs.; the head wing area is surrounded by EPP foam, which offers additional side impact protection; 2 buckle positions; EZ-Buckle System holds buckle forward when not in use; removable infant body pillow; non-twist straps; HUGS with SafeCell Technology harness system for forward-facing use; the harness height is adjusted with a squeeze of a handle, instead of having to rethread the harness through slots; "rip stitch" energy management tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; built-in lockoffs; anti-slip base; SafeCell technology; velcro to hold back the harness when it's not in use; choice of covers varies by store
Drawbacks: cost; shell is shorter than other seats in its class
For Canadians only: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing; 22-65 lbs. forward-facing
The EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, Target, online and specialty stores
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-70 lbs. forward-facing; LATCH-equipped for children up to 40 lbs.; the head area is surrounded by EPP foam; 2 buckle positions; EZ-Buckle System holds buckle forward when not in use; removable infant body pillow; non-twist straps; HUGS with SafeCell Technology harness system for forward-facing use; the harness height is adjusted with a squeeze of a handle, instead of having to rethread the harness through slots; high harness slots; "rip stitch" energy management tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; built-in lockoffs; anti-slip base; SafeCell technology; velcro to hold back the harness when it's not in use; choice of covers varies by store
Drawbacks: cost; shell is shorter than other seats in its class
For Canadians only: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing; 22-65 lbs. forward-facing
Review: Reviews can be found here, here, and here.
The EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, TRU, Target, online and specialty stores
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-55 lbs. forward-facing; the head area is surrounded by EPP foam; 2 buckle positions; removable infant body pillow; non-twist straps; high harness slots; "rip stitch" energy management tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; built-in lockoffs; anti-slip base; SafeCell technology; velcro to hold back the harness when it's not in use; easy to install in most cars; choice of covers varies by store
Drawbacks: an older/larger child who otherwise fits in the seat may find the seat too narrow through the shoulders
For Canadians only: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing; 22-55 lbs. forward-facing
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Target
Features: 5-35 lbs. rear-facing, 20-50 lbs. forward-facing; LATCH-equipped for children up to 40 lbs.; the head area is surrounded by EPS foam; non-twist straps; high harness slots; 3 crotch strap positions; "rip stitch" energy management tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; velcro to hold back the harness when it's not in use; lighter in weight than the Marathon/Wizard/Boulevard; choice of covers varies by store
Drawbacks: no built-in lockoffs
Comments: This basic "Classic" seat is found only at Target.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com, Target, BRU, baby specialty stores, and online
Features: 3-33 lbs. rear-facing, 20-40 lbs. forward-facing; tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing;narrow seat installs easily in a lot of cars and airplanes--designed to work well in small vehicles and 3-across situations; lightweight; built-in lockoffs; optional Euro-style rear-facing shoulder belt path behind seat; infant pad
Drawbacks:
Comments: If your Coccoro doesn't have a d-ring for rear-facing tethering, contact Combi at customerservice@combiusa.com or by calling 1-800-992-6624
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: specialty stores and online
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-65 lbs. forward-facing; 50-100 lbs. booster; SuperLATCH-equipped for children up to 65 lbs.; EPS foam; high harness slots; excellent rear-facing leg room; tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; SafeStop crash force load limiter for forward-facing harness use (requires forward-facing tether to 40 lbs.; remove SafeStop at 40 lbs.); folds flat; steel frame
Drawbacks: weight; incompatible forward-facing installation in vehicles with a long or stiff buckle stalk
For Canadians only: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward-facing
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: specialty stores and online
Features: 5-45 lbs. rear-facing, 20-80 lbs. forward-facing; 50-120 lbs. booster; SuperLATCH-equipped for children up to 80 lbs.; EPS foam; adjustable head wings for use with the top 3 harness slots; high harness slots; excellent rear-facing leg room; tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; SafeStop crash force load limiter for forward-facing harness use (requires forward-facing tether to 40 lbs.; remove SafeStop at 40 lbs.); infant head support and body support; 8 year expiration date; removable harness; rubber grips on base of seat; folds flat; steel frame
Drawbacks: weight; incompatible forward-facing installation in vehicles with a long or stiff buckle stalk
For Canadians only: 5-45 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward-facing
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, Wal-Mart
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 22-40 lbs. forward-facing; high harness slots for a 40 lbs. max. weight seat; all harness slot positions reinforced for forward-facing; 3 crotch strap positions; narrow base; installs easily in a lot of cars and airplanes; cup holder; lightweight
Drawbacks: difficult harness adjuster; sparse padding; no EPS foam
Comments: While the Scenera has a high rear-facing weight limit, it has the short shell of a 40 lbs. carseat. A child will typically need a higher weight harness seat after this carseat.
For Canadians only: This carseat is known as the Scenera LX in Canada.


          
Available at: Amazon.com, Target, Wal-Mart, BRU
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-65 lbs. forward-facing; EPP foam in head area; harness height adjustment from front without unthreading the harness; 2 buckle positions; body and toddler pillows; fold-down cup holder
Drawbacks: harness not removable for cleaning/replacement; may not fit side-by-side with other carseats; harness adjuster is cumbersome
For Canadians only: 5-30 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward-facing
The EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, Target, BRU, baby specialty stores, online
Features: 5-35 lbs. rear-facing, 23-65 lbs. forward-facing; fully lined with EPP foam; removable head restraint for rear-facing infants up to 22 lbs. for easier installation in smaller vehicles; harness height adjustment from side of seat without unthreading the harness; excellent rear-facing leg room; 2 buckle positions; body and toddler pillows; built-in lockoffs; cup holder
Drawbacks: harness adjuster difficult to reach when seat is installed rear-facing
The EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, baby specialty stores, online
Features: 5-35 lbs. rear-facing, 23-65 lbs. forward-facing; anti-rebound management bar; fully lined with EPP foam; removable head restraint for rear-facing infants up to 22 lbs. for easier installation in smaller vehicles; harness height adjustment from side of seat without unthreading the harness; excellent rear-facing leg room; 2 buckle positions; body and toddler pillows; built-in lockoffs; ball recline angle indicator; cup holder
Drawbacks:
Comments: The Lamaze brand is a Babies R Us exclusive from The First Years.
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU and online
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-65 or 70 lbs., depending on model forward-facing; separate LATCH straps and connectors for rear- and forward-facing belt paths; the head area is surrounded by EPS foam; high harness slots; strap covers to 40 lbs. only; toddler head pillow to 40 lbs. only; infant insert; dual cupholders (removable and dishwasher safe on the 70 lbs. model)
Drawbacks: buckle may be difficult to use; deep natural recline when forward-facing--may interfere with installation in some vehicles
For Canadians only: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward-facing
Review: Reviews can be found here and here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, Target, and baby specialty stores
Features: 4-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-70 lbs. forward-facing; separate easy-release LATCH straps and connectors for rear- and forward-facing belt paths; the head wing area is surrounded by EPS foam; the harness height is adjusted with a squeeze of a handle, instead of having to rethread the harness through slots; high top harness slot position; 2 buckle positions; infant insert; cupholder
Drawbacks: buckle may be difficult to use; no built-in lockoffs
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com, baby specialty stores, and online
Features: 5-45 lbs. rear-facing, 22-70 lbs.; the head wing area is surrounded by EPS foam, which offers additional side impact protection; EPP on the botton of the seat for energy absorption; 2 buckle positions; the harness height is adjusted with a pull of a strap, instead of having to rethread the harness through slots; infant insert; thick harness strap covers
Drawbacks: harness strap covers are too thick and long for small babies
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS and EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!

Back to top

Extended Rear-Facing Convertible Seats
The vast majority of the carseats on the market right now have rear-facing weight limits of more than 35 lbs. What this means for parents is that the few choices of low rear-facing harness weight seats typically are niche seats for traveling or small back seats. Because there are so many higher rear-facing weight limit choices now, I have narrowed the list down to a few that are often recommended because of their ability to keep children rear-facing to age 3 and beyond as well as perform nicely as forward-facing harnessed seats. Depending on how the seat is outgrown, a child may need a combination seat, a higher weight harness seat or a booster seat after using an extended rear-facing convertible seat.


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, online and specialty stores
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-70 lbs. forward-facing; LATCH-equipped for children up to 40 lbs.; the head wing area is surrounded by EPP foam, which offers additional side impact protection; 2 buckle positions; EZ-Buckle System holds buckle forward when not in use; removable infant body pillow; non-twist straps; HUGS with SafeCell Technology harness system for forward-facing use; the harness height is adjusted with a squeeze of a handle, instead of having to rethread the harness through slots; "rip stitch" energy management tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; built-in lockoffs; anti-slip base; SafeCell technology; velcro to hold back the harness when it's not in use; choice of covers varies by store
Drawbacks: cost; shell is shorter than other seats in its class
For Canadians only: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing; 22-65 lbs. forward-facing
The EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, TRU, Target, online and specialty stores
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-55 lbs. forward-facing; the head area is surrounded by EPP foam; 2 buckle positions; removable infant body pillow; non-twist straps; high harness slots; "rip stitch" energy management tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; built-in lockoffs; anti-slip base; SafeCell technology; velcro to hold back the harness when it's not in use; easy to install in most cars; choice of covers varies by store
Drawbacks: cost; an older/larger child who otherwise fits in the seat may find the seat too narrow through the shoulders
For Canadians only: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing; 22-55 lbs. forward-facing
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: specialty stores and online
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-65 lbs. forward-facing; 50-100 lbs. booster; SuperLATCH-equipped for children up to 65 lbs.; EPS foam; high harness slots; excellent rear-facing leg room; tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; SafeStop crash force load limiter for forward-facing harness use (requires forward-facing tether to 40 lbs.; remove SafeStop at 40 lbs.); folds flat; steel frame
Drawbacks: weight; incompatible forward-facing installation in vehicles with a long or stiff buckle stalk
For Canadians only: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward-facing
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: specialty stores and online
Features: 5-45 lbs. rear-facing, 20-80 lbs. forward-facing; 50-120 lbs. booster; LATCH-equipped for children up to 80 lbs.; EPS foam; adjustable head wings for use with the top 3 harness slots; high harness slots; excellent rear-facing leg room; tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; SafeStop crash force load limiter for forward-facing harness use (requires forward-facing tether to 40 lbs.; remove SafeStop at 40 lbs.); infant head support and body support; 8 year expiration date; removable harness; rubber grips on base of seat; folds flat; steel frame
Drawbacks: weight; incompatible forward-facing installation in vehicles with a long or stiff buckle stalk
For Canadians only: 5-45 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward-facing
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, baby specialty stores, online
Features: 5-35 lbs. rear-facing, 23-65 lbs. forward-facing; anti-rebound management bar; fully lined with EPP foam; removable head restraint for rear-facing infants up to 22 lbs. for easier installation in smaller vehicles; harness height adjustment from side of seat without unthreading the harness; excellent rear-facing leg room; 2 buckle positions; body and toddler pillows; built-in lockoffs; ball recline angle indicator; cup holder
Drawbacks:
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU and online
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-65 or 70 lbs., depending on model forward-facing; separate LATCH straps and connectors for rear- and forward-facing belt paths; the head area is surrounded by EPS foam; high harness slots; strap covers to 40 lbs. only; toddler head pillow to 40 lbs. only; infant insert; dual cupholders (removable and dishwasher safe on the 70 lbs. model)
Drawbacks: buckle may be difficult to use; deep natural recline when forward-facing--may interfere with installation in some vehicles
For Canadians only: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward- facing
Review: Reviews can be found here and here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, Target, and baby specialty stores
Features: 4-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-70 lbs. forward-facing; separate easy-release LATCH straps and connectors for rear- and forward-facing belt paths; the head wing area is surrounded by EPS foam; the harness height is adjusted with a squeeze of a handle, instead of having to rethread the harness through slots; high top harness slot position; 2 buckle positions; infant insert; cupholder
Drawbacks: buckle may be difficult to use; no built-in lockoffs
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com, baby specialty stores, and online
Features: 5-45 lbs. rear-facing, 22-70 lbs.; the head wing area is surrounded by EPS foam, which offers additional side impact protection; EPP on the botton of the seat for energy absorption; 2 buckle positions; 10 harness height positions; infant insert; thick harness strap covers
Drawbacks: harness strap covers are too thick and long for small babies
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS and EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!

Back to top

Combination Seats
These are seats that can be used with a harness to 40 lbs. or higher, then converted to a belt positioning booster (bpb). Once the child reaches the maximum weight limit for the harness, you must stop using the harness. If a child is not mature enough to use a combination seat as a bpb, a higher weight harness seat may be appropriate. All combination seats appearing on this list have higher harness weights than 40 lbs. Also important to note is that combination seats, if they are FAA-approved for use in airplanes, are approved for use only in harness mode.


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, Target, baby specialty stores and online
Features: 5-point harness from 2 years AND 25-85 lbs.; bpb to 120 lbs.; front harness adjuster; no-rethread harness height adjuster; 10 harness height positions; 3 buckle positions; 2-piece chest clip; integrated cup holders; arm rests; smooth harness adjuster
Drawbacks:
Comments: The 85 SICT version differs from the 85 with an easy to remove cover (without uninstalling) and the Side Impact Cushion Technology. While tether use is mandatory for the harnessed Frontier 85 once a child reaches 65 lbs., tether use is optional for the Frontier 85 SICT. Remember that attaching the top tether to a vehicle tether anchor is highly recommended for optimum safety.
For Canadians only: 5-point harness from 25-65 lbs.
Review: Reviews can be found here and here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU/TRU, Target, Wal-Mart and online
Features: 5-point harness from 20-50 lbs.; bpb to 100 lbs.; EPS foam; front harness adjuster; 2-piece chest clip; 2 crotch strap positions; cup holders; arm rests
Drawbacks: harness appears narrow at child's neck; seatback is short; non-adjustable headrest
For Canadians only: 5-point harness from 22-47 lbs.
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU
Features: 5-point harness from 20-65 lbs.; bpb to 110 lbs.; EPS foam; front harness adjuster; 4-position head rest; 2-piece chest clip; 2 crotch strap positions; cup holders; arm rests
Drawbacks:
Comments: The SecureKid 300/400 is based on the Maestro, but has a moveable head rest. The 400 model adds E3 Triple Layer Foam Technology and auto-tighten SureLatch LATCH connectors.
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: BRU, Target, and online
Features: 5-point harness from 20-70 lbs.; bpb to 100 lbs.; converts to a backless booster (40-120 lbs.); 3-position recline; no-rethread harness height adjuster; cup holder built into right armrest; storage areas in each armrest; EPS foam
Drawbacks: buckle may be difficult to use
Comments: The Argos is based on the Nautilus and also has 2 lifespans. When used with the harness or as a highback booster, the lifespan is 6 years. When used as a backless booster, the lifespan is 9 years.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, Target, Wal-Mart, and online
Features: 5-point harness from 20-65 lbs.; bpb to 100 lbs.; converts to a backless booster (40-100 lbs.); 3-position recline; cup holder built into right armrest; storage areas in each armrest; EPS foam
Drawbacks: buckle may be difficult to use
Comments: The Nautilus also has 2 lifespans. When used with the harness or as a highback booster, the lifespan is 6 years. When used as a backless booster, the lifespan is 9 years.
For Canadians only: 5-point harness from 22-65 lbs.
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com and at specialty stores
Features: 5-point harness from 20-90 lbs.; bpb to 120 lbs.; EPS foam; Recaro side impact protection; padded seat cushion for smaller children; harness/head rest height adjusts with lever on back of seat; open loop shoulder belt guide; tether can be used in belt positioning booster mode; plush covers
Drawbacks: cost; shoulder portion of seatbelt can cross over certain harness slots depending on shoulder belt origination point; open belt path allows seatbelt/LATCH belt to sit against child's back--call Recaro for foam comfort wedge
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!

Back to top

Belt Positioning Boosters
Belt positioning boosters (bpb) are used with the vehicle's lap/shoulder belt only (do not use a bpb with a lap-only belt) and may or may not be LATCH-equipped. If LATCH-equipped, it is to keep the booster secure to the vehicle while the child is not riding in it. A child is typically mature enough to use a bpb safely around ages 4-5. If the child is not mature enough to use a bpb, but is over the 40 lb. weight limit of some harnesses, a higher weight harness seat may be appropriate.



     
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, online and at specialty stores
Features: 40-120 lbs.; armrests; 2 cup holders; SecureGuard lap belt clip to prevent submarining; removable back to convert to a backless booster; back adjusts height-wise with one hand
Drawbacks:
Comments: The SGL version has LATCH to prevent the booster from becoming a projectile in a crash. The SGL version rates as an IIHS Best Bet when used in highback mode. The SG version rates as an IIHS Good Bet when used in highback mode.
Review: Reviews can be found here and here.



     
Available at: Amazon.com, online, and at specialty stores
Features: 40-80 lbs.; narrow--great for tight situations; most portable booster on the market and includes storage bag; self-inflating booster (must blow on valve to fully inflate); webbing on bottom of seat for stability; kids and parents think it's cute
Drawbacks: leg support lacking; requires some practice to insert seatbelt into positioner clips
Comments: The BubbleBum has been tested when uninflated, though it should always be used inflated. When rolled and stored in its bag, it easily fits in a large purse. The BubbleBum rates as an IIHS Best Bet.
Review: Reviews can be found here and here.


     
Available at: Amazon.com and at specialty stores
Features: 40-100 lbs.; installs with rigid LATCH; soft foam cushioning; tall armrests; storage pocket on side of seat; several choices of covers (called "jackets")
Drawbacks: price
Comments: The Olli fits larger children well because it doesn't angle to be narrower in the back.
Review: Review can be found here.


     
Available at: Amazon.com and at specialty stores
Features: 30-100 lbs. (used as a backless booster, the minimum weight limit is 40 lbs.); installs with rigid LATCH; soft foam cushioning; seat back reclines; tall armrests; headrest adjusts like a vehicle headrest; cup holder; uses Crypton Super Fabric; several choices of covers
Drawbacks: price
Comments: The Oobr rates as an IIHS Best Bet when used in highback mode.
For Canadians only: 40-100 lbs.
Review: Reviews can be found here and here.



     
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, and baby specialty stores
Features: 30-120 lbs. (used as a backless booster, the minimum weight limit is 40 lbs.); removable back to convert to a backless booster; fully lined with EPS foam; torso wings adjustable in width; back adjusts height-wise with one hand; back has 2 recline positions; 2 cup holders; attaches to vehicle with LATCH
Drawbacks: shoulder belt has the tendency to slide out of belt guide in some vehicles
Comments: The Santa Fe is the backless booster form of the Monterey. You may not get a 1" or less tight install with the LATCH connectors. They are provided to keep the seat from becoming a projectile when a child is not using it. If you don't have LATCH in your vehicle or the position in which you are using the booster, don't forget to buckle it in when your child isn't using it. The Monterey rates as an IIHS Best Bet when used in highback mode.
For Canadians only: 40-120 lbs.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU/TRU, Target, and Wal-Mart
Features: 40-100 lbs.; cup holders on both sides of seat; tall armrests for easy buckling
Drawbacks:
Comments: The Amp rates as an IIHS Best Bet.
Review: Review can be found here.



     
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU/TRU, JCPenney, Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart
Features: 30-100 lbs. (used as a backless booster, the minimum weight limit is 40 lbs.); removable back to convert to a backless booster; EPS foam in head rest; some versions have Graco-pedic memory comfort foam; retractable cup holders on both sides of seat; height-adjustable arm rests;back adjusts height-wise with one hand; back has 2 recline positions
Drawbacks: relatively short in highback mode
Comments: The TurboBooster in the Baldwin fashion rates as an IIHS Best Bet when used in highback mode.
For Canadians only: 40-100 lbs.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!



Available at: Target
Features: 30-100 lbs. (used as a backless booster, the minimum weight limit is 40 lbs.); removable back to convert to a backless booster; EPS foam in head rest; retractable cup holders on both sides of seat; height-adjustable arm rests;back adjusts height-wise with one hand; back has 2 recline positions
Drawbacks: relatively short in highback mode
Comments: This model of TurboBooster has more enhanced head and torso protection over the basic model. This is a new model not yet rated by IIHS.org.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Wal-Mart
Features: 30-110 lbs.; cup holder; deep seat offers nice thigh support
Drawbacks:
Comments: The Cruz rates as an IIHS Best Bet.


     
Available at: Wal-Mart
Features: 30-100 lbs.; very lightweight, makes a good travel booster
Drawbacks:
Comments: The Youth Booster is the same booster as the LiteRider. The Youth Booster rates as an IIHS Best Bet.
For Canadians only: 40-100 lbs.


     
Available at: Amazon.com and baby specialty stores
Features: 30-120 lbs.; EPS foam; Recaro side impact protection; back adjusts height-wise with one hand; recline bar for fit to vehicle seat
Drawbacks:
Comments: The ProBOOSTER rates as an IIHS Best Bet.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!

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Higher Weight Harness Seats
Over the past few years, carseat manufacturers have designed most of their carseat products to harness beyond the traditional 40 lbs. forward-facing weight limit. In fact, many now have a 40 lbs. maximum rear-facing weight limit with the forward-facing limit well beyond that. With the many choices now, I have narrowed the list down to a few that are often recommended because of their ability to keep kids harnessed until they are mature enough to handle sitting in a belt positioning booster seat, which happens around ages 4-5. This list is a mixture of convertible seats and combination seats. If you are looking for a new carseat for a child who is already forward-facing, look for a combination seat that harnesses first, then converts to a booster. If you are looking for a new carseat for a child who will pass the seat down to a younger sibling who will use the seat rear-facing, consider a convertible that rear-faces and forward-faces. For installation purposes, look for a seat that's easy to install with a seatbelt since many vehicles have lower LATCH anchor weight limits of 40 or 48 lbs. (refer to your vehicle and carseat manuals).


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, Target, and baby specialty stores
Features: 5-point harness from 2 years AND 25-85 lbs.; bpb to 120 lbs.; front harness adjuster; no-rethread harness height adjuster; 10 harness height positions; 3 buckle positions; 2-piece chest clip; integrated cup holders; arm rests; smooth harness adjuster
Drawbacks:
Comments: The 85 SICT version differs from the 85 with an easy to remove cover (without uninstalling) and the Side Impact Cushion Technology. While tether use is mandatory for the harnessed Frontier 85 once a child reaches 65 lbs., tether use is optional for the Frontier 85 SICT. Remember that attaching the top tether to a vehicle tether anchor is highly recommended for optimum safety.
For Canadians only: 5-point harness from 25-65 lbs.
Review: Reviews can be found here and here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
See these seats in the Convertible Seats section.


          
Available at: specialty stores and online
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-65 lbs. forward-facing; 50- 100 lbs. booster; SuperLATCH-equipped for children up to 65 lbs.; EPS foam; high harness slots; excellent rear-facing leg room; tether that can be used rear- facing as well as forward-facing; SafeStop crash force load limiter for forward-facing harness use (requires forward-facing tether to 40 lbs.; remove SafeStop at 40 lbs.); folds flat; steel frame
Drawbacks: weight; incompatible forward-facing installation in vehicles with a long or stiff buckle stalk
For Canadians only: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward- facing
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: specialty stores and online
Features: 5-45 lbs. rear-facing, 20-80 lbs. forward-facing; 50- 120 lbs. booster; LATCH-equipped for children up to 80 lbs.; EPS foam; adjustable head wings for use with the top 3 harness slots; high harness slots; excellent rear-facing leg room; tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; SafeStop crash force load limiter for forward-facing harness use (requires forward-facing tether to 40 lbs.; remove SafeStop at 40 lbs.); infant head support and body support; 8 year expiration date; removable harness; rubber grips on base of seat; folds flat; steel frame
Drawbacks: weight; incompatible forward-facing installation in vehicles with a long or stiff buckle stalk
For Canadians only: 5-45 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward- facing
Review: Review can be found here.
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU
Features: 5-point harness from 20-65 lbs.; bpb to 110 lbs.; EPS foam; front harness adjuster; 4-position head rest; 2-piece chest clip; 2 crotch strap positions; cup holders; arm rests
Drawbacks:
Comments: The SecureKid 300/400 is based on the Maestro, but has a moveable head rest. The 400 model adds E3 Triple Layer Foam Technology and auto-tighten SureLatch LATCH connectors.
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!



Available at: E-Z-On Products
Features: 20-168 lbs. (103Z), 20-65 lbs. (203).; adjustable shoulder straps; can be used on school buses or in cars; must use E-Z-On Tether Mount accessory to secure vest to tether anchor
Drawbacks:



Available at: E-Z-On Products
Features: 40-168 lbs.; 2-piece chest clip; requires tether anchor, use E-Z-On tether anchor over 80 lbs. (check with vehicle manufacturer to determine weight limit on tether anchor); can be used with any booster seat, if booster is needed to position the lap-only vehicle belt properly (check with booster manufacturer to see if aftermarket 5-point harness use is allowed)
Drawbacks:
Comments: Use with a booster from 40-65 lbs.


          
Available at: Amazon.com, Target, BRU, and baby specialty stores
Features: 5-35 lbs. rear-facing, 23-65 lbs. forward-facing; fully lined with EPP foam; removable head restraint for rear-facing infants up to 22 lbs. for easier installation in smaller vehicles; harness height adjustment from side of seat without unthreading the harness; excellent rear-facing leg room; 2 buckle positions; body and toddler pillows; built-in lockoffs; cup holder
Drawbacks: harness adjuster difficult to reach when seat is installed rear-facing
The EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU, and baby specialty stores
Features: 5-35 lbs. rear-facing, 23-65 lbs. forward-facing; anti-rebound management bar; fully lined with EPP foam; removable head restraint for rear-facing infants up to 22 lbs. for easier installation in smaller vehicles; harness height adjustment from side of seat without unthreading the harness; excellent rear-facing leg room; 2 buckle positions; body and toddler pillows; built-in lockoffs; ball recline angle indicator; cup holder
Drawbacks:
Review: Review can be found here.
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPP foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: BRU, Target, and online
Features: 5-point harness from 20-70 lbs.; bpb to 100 lbs.; converts to a backless booster (40-120 lbs.); 3-position recline; no-rethread harness height adjuster; cup holder built into right armrest; storage areas in each armrest; EPS foam
Drawbacks: buckle may be difficult to use
Comments: The Argos is based on the Nautilus and also has 2 lifespans. When used with the harness or as a highback booster, the lifespan is 6 years. When used as a backless booster, the lifespan is 9 years.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU and online
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-65 or 70 lbs., depending on model forward-facing; separate LATCH straps and connectors for rear- and forward-facing belt paths; the head area is surrounded by EPS foam; high harness slots; strap covers to 40 lbs. only; toddler head pillow to 40 lbs. only; infant insert; dual cupholders (removable and dishwasher safe on the 70 lbs. model)
Drawbacks: buckle may be difficult to use; deep natural recline when forward-facing--may interfere with installation in some vehicles
For Canadians only: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward- facing
Review: Reviews can be found here and here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Target, BRU
Features: 20-65 lbs. forward-facing; bpb to 100 lbs. (backless booster 40-100 lbs.); harness clearly labeled to 65 lbs.; 2-piece chest clip; the head area is surrounded by EPS foam; high harness slots; strap covers; open shoulder belt guides; steel reinforced frame; one-hand height adjustment head support; cupholder and storage areas in arm rest
Drawbacks: buckle may be difficult to use
Comments: The Nautilus can be attached with LATCH when used in booster mode. The Nautilus also has 2 lifespans. When used with the harness or as a highback booster, the lifespan is 6 years. When used as a backless booster, the lifespan is 9 years.
For Canadians only: 5-point harness from 22-65 lbs.
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, Target, and baby specialty stores
Features: 4-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-70 lbs. forward-facing; separate easy-release LATCH straps and connectors for rear- and forward-facing belt paths; the head wing area is surrounded by EPS foam; the harness height is adjusted with a squeeze of a handle, instead of having to rethread the harness through slots; high top harness slot position; 2 buckle positions; infant insert; cupholder
Drawbacks: buckle may be difficult to use; no built-in lockoffs
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com and at specialty stores
Features: 5-point harness from 20-90 lbs.; bpb to 120 lbs.; EPS foam; carrying handle; padded seat cushion for smaller children; harness/head rest height adjusts with lever on back of seat; open loop shoulder belt guide; tether can be used in belt positioning booster mode; plush covers
Drawbacks: cost; shoulder portion of seatbelt can cross over certain harness slots depending on shoulder belt origination point; open belt path allows seatbelt/LATCH belt to sit against child's back--call Recaro for foam comfort wedge
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com and specialty stores
Features: available in 2 sizes: small (35-60 lbs.) and large (50 -80 lbs.); lap-only belt requires the use of a tether anchor; large size requires the use of a special dual tether over 60 lbs.; optional head rest
Drawbacks: space-age design kids like but parents don't

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Travel Seats
These harnessed seats fill a need for families who travel with children who no longer are in infant seats, but are too young to ride safely in a belt positioning booster seat. The common features these seats all share is that they are easy to take through an airport.


          certified for use in the UK     certified for use in Australia     certified for use in New Zealand     certified for use in Singapore     
Available at: Amazon.com and www.kidsflysafe.com
Features: 22-44 lbs. forward-facing; lightweight; only harness approved for use aboard aircraft; fits all airplane seats
Drawbacks: no crotch strap so children can slide under plane seat belt; must have carseat available at destination for use; not approved for vehicle use



     
Available at: Amazon.com, online, and at specialty stores
Features: 40-80 lbs.; narrow--great for tight situations; most portable booster on the market and includes storage bag; self-inflating booster (must blow on valve to fully inflate); webbing on bottom of seat for stability; kids and parents think it's cute
Drawbacks: leg support lacking; requires some practice to insert seatbelt into positioner clips
Comments: The BubbleBum has been tested when uninflated, though it should always be used inflated. When rolled and stored in its bag, it easily fits in a large purse. The BubbleBum rates as an IIHS Best Bet.
Review: Reviews can be found here and here.


          
Available at: specialty stores and online
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 20-65 lbs. forward-facing; 50-120 lbs. booster; SuperLATCH-equipped for children up to 65 lbs.; EPS foam; high harness slots; excellent rear-facing leg room; tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; SafeStop crash force load limiter for forward-facing harness use (requires forward-facing tether to 40 lbs.; remove SafeStop at 40 lbs.); folds flat; steel frame
Drawbacks: weight; incompatible forward-facing installation in vehicles with a long or stiff buckle stalk
For Canadians only: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward-facing
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: specialty stores and online
Features: 5-45 lbs. rear-facing, 20-80 lbs. forward-facing; 50- 120 lbs. booster; LATCH-equipped for children up to 80 lbs.; EPS foam; adjustable head wings for use with the top 3 harness slots; high harness slots; excellent rear-facing leg room; tether that can be used rear-facing as well as forward-facing; SafeStop crash force load limiter for forward-facing harness use (requires forward-facing tether to 40 lbs.; remove SafeStop at 40 lbs.); infant head support and body support; 8 year expiration date; removable harness; rubber grips on base of seat; folds flat; steel frame
Drawbacks: weight; incompatible forward-facing installation in vehicles with a long or stiff buckle stalk
For Canadians only: 5-45 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward- facing
Review: Review can be found here.
Review: Review can be found here.
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, Target, BRU
Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 22-40 lbs. forward-facing; high harness slots for a 40 lbs. max. weight seat; all harness slot positions reinforced for forward-facing; 3 crotch strap positions; narrow base; installs easily in a lot of cars and airplanes; cup holder; lightweight
Drawbacks: difficult harness adjuster; sparse padding; no EPS foam
Comments: While the Scenera has a high rear-facing weight limit, it has the short shell of a 40 lbs. carseat. A child will typically need a higher weight harness seat after this carseat. The 40 lbs. RF version of this seat can be distinguished from the 35 lbs. version by the cover: the 40 lbs. version has a full wrap.
For Canadians only: This carseat is known as the Scenera LX in Canada.


     
Available at: Amazon.com and specialty stores
Features: 30-60 lbs. harnessed; 40-100 lbs. bpb; adjustable headrest; requires tether use; booster installs with LATCH; only seat that can be used with LATCH to 60 lbs.; weighs 9 lbs.; includes carryon-sized travel bag
Drawbacks:
Comments: not FAA-approved because of mandatory tether use and flexible back
The EPS foam looks like styrofoam. Be careful to not throw it away!


     
Available at: Amazon.com and specialty stores
Features: available in 2 sizes: small (35-60 lbs.) and large (50-80 lbs.); lap-only belt requires the use of a tether anchor; large size requires the use of a special dual tether over 60 lbs.; optional head rest
Drawbacks: space-age design kids like but parents don't


          
Available at: Amazon.com, BRU/TRU, elitecarseats.com
Features: 5" razor wheels; quick release strap
Drawbacks: price
Comments: Never leave gogo Kidz Travelmate attached to seat while installed in vehicle. Always detach before installing carseat!


          
Available at: Amazon.com, buy.com, mountainbaby.com
Features: lightweight strap that utilizes convertible carseat's LATCH straps to attach it to carry-on suitcase
Drawbacks: lower LATCH straps may need to be positioned in forward-facing belt path
Comments: Strap fits easily into purse or carry-on.

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Special Needs Seats
Because the physical requirements differ so greatly among special needs kids, it is impossible to list recommended seats here. The correct seat choice should be made with input from the child's physician and a qualified child passenger safety technician with training in special needs seats. Keep in mind that a regular carseat may work well for your child's situation and may be much less expensive than a special needs seat. Following is a list of manufacturers of special needs seats:

800-815-6330
AngleRide Infant Car Bed for preemies who must ride laying flat because of breathing/heart rate problems (available through Mercury Distributing)

www.britaxusa.com
Britax

www.ezonpro.com
E-Z-On Vests and Harnesses
This company makes vests for transporting children in the supine or prone positions.

Merritt Manufacturing
The Hope Car Bed for infants who must ride in a car bed from 4.5-35 lbs. Also the Churchill backless booster and the Roosevelt HWH seat for special needs kids.

www.snugseat.com/
Snug Seat

www.adaptivemall.com
Adaptivemall carries a variety of brands of carseats from infant to small adult size

You may also find more information on special needs seats and wheelchair tie-downs at SafetyBeltSafe USA.
www.carseat.org/Resources/173_spec_needs.pdf

Special Needs Links

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Canadian Help
The following seats have been certified to higher forward-facing weight limits indicated in paretheses:

Britax Advocate (65 lbs.)

Britax Boulevard (65 lbs.)

Britax Frontier (65 lbs.)

Britax Marathon (48 lbs. older models/65 lbs. newer models; weight limits indicated on labels)

Britax Roundabout 55

Cosco Alpha Omega Elite (65 lbs.; this seat may be branded as Eddie Bauer/3-in-1/Safety 1st)

Diono (formerly Sunshine Kids) Radian R100 (65 lbs.)

Diono (formerly Sunshine Kids) Radian R120 (65 lbs.)

Diono (formerly Sunshine Kids) Radian RXT (65 lbs.)

Evenflo Generations (47 lbs.)

Evenflo Titan (47 lbs.)

Evenflo Triumph Advance (47 lbs.)

Graco MyRide 65 (65 lbs.)

The First Years TrueFit (65 lbs.)

Graco Nautilus (65 lbs.)

Canadian Shopping Web Sites

SnuggleBugz

www.hbc.com/hbconline/home.asp?langid=EN
Hudson's Bay Company, parent company of The Bay and Zellers

www.sears.ca
Sears Canada

www.canadiantire.ca
Canadian Tire

www.www.babyproofingplus.com/index.htm *Sometimes incorrect weight limits on seats are advertised.
Safety Superstore

www.tjskids.com/index.asp
TJ's the Kiddies Store

www.kiddieproofers.com/go.shtml
Kiddie Proofers

www.toysrus.ca
Toys R Us Canada

www.babiesrus.ca
Babies R Us Canada

www.weecycled.com
WeeCycled Kids Stuff

www.bobebe.com
bo bébé fine baby products

Helpful Canadian Web Sites

www.tc.gc.ca/roadsafety/childsafety/menu.htm
Transport Canada's Child Safety page

www.safekidscanada.ca
Safe Kids Canada

www.insurance-canada.ca/consinfoauto/Co-op200305.php
Insurance information on booster seat usage

www.stjohnsambulance.ca
The St. Johns Ambulance web site. Select St. Johns Ambulance locations organize carseat inspections.

www.carseatsafety.ca
Manitoba Car Seat Coalition Site

www.childsafetylink.ca
Overall safety web site with carseat information.

Regional Public Health Department
Parents may contact their Public Health Department for a carseat clinic schedule.

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