Stage 1: Rear-facing
Infant car seat (rear-facing only)
Convertible or 3-in-1 car seat, in rear-facing position
- Never install a rear-facing seat in front of an active front passenger airbag
- Your baby will outgrow their infant car seat when they reach the maximum height or weight for that model – check the car seat labels and/or manual for this information. Most babies will need to move to a rear-facing convertible or 3-in-1 seat before they are ready to be forward-facing
- At minimum, keep your baby rear-facing from birth until all 3 criteria are met:
- A minimum weight of 10 kg (22 lbs)
- At least 1 year of age
- Your baby is able to walk completely unassisted
Even if your baby meets all three criteria above, as long as he/she is within the weight and height limits of the rear-facing stage of his/her car seat, the rear-facing position is safer.
Harnessing your baby in a rear-facing car seat
- Use the harness strap slots that are at or below your baby’s shoulders.
- Position the top of the chest clip at arm pit level
- Once buckled, tighten harnessing until only one finger fits between the harness and your baby’s collar bone
- Make sure the harness straps are flat and not twisted
Installing a rear-facing car seat
- Always read the vehicle and car seat manuals before installing a car seat
- All vehicles manufactured after 2002 have the option of installing a car seat with a LATCH/UAS system or seatbelt – choose the one system that offers the tightest fit
- LATCH/UAS installation: read your vehicle manual to find out which back seating positions have the LATCH/UAS anchor (many vehicles only have this system for the outer rear seat locations). All car seats come with a strap with LATCH/UAS hooks to attach to the vehicle anchors. Read the car seat manual to find out where to thread the strap through the car seat and how to properly connect the hooks to the anchors
- Seat belt installation: read your vehicle manual to find out how to use the seat belt to tightly secure a car seat. Some seat belt systems require you to use a locking clip to hold a car seat tight – use a locking clip only if the vehicle manual specifically says to use one.
- For LATCH/UAS or seat belt installations, to help get a tight fit, push down on the car seat (or the infant car seat base) while tightening the belt. Once installed, the car seat should move no more than 2.5 cm (1 in.) where it is belted.
- Make sure the rear-facing seat is at approximately a 45-degrees angle – most infant seats have a level indicator to let you know if further adjustments to the angle needs to be made. Most infant car seat bases also have an adjustable feature to help you get a 45-degree angle; if your model doesn’t have this feature and for convertible and 3-in-1 seats, use a piece of pool noodle (or tightly rolled up towel) under the seat before tightening the belt.
- For infant car seats – refer to the car seat manual for which position the carrier handle should be in while in the vehicle.