Cross border shopping may be cheap and convenient, but when it comes to buying a child’s car seat or booster seat for use in Canada, Transport Canada warns consumers that it is illegal.
Transport Canada is receiving a significantly increased number of inquiries from parents and caregivers who have either purchased a seat, or are considering purchasing a seat from outside of Canada. The Department is also seeing an increase in the number of reports from Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers and from certified child passenger safety technicians that seats purchased in other countries are being privately imported into Canada and are showing up at car seat clinics across Canada.
Transport Canada is concerned that parents and caregivers may not know that it is illegal to import and use in Canada a seat that does not comply with Canadian standards. Many consumers are looking south of the border and in other countries for the best buy without knowing all of the facts. Child seats and booster seats sold in the U.S. and other countries do not meet Canadian federal regulations and, under provincial and territorial legislations, are illegal to use in Canada.
Child or booster seats purchased outside Canada, including those purchased online from non-Canadian vendors, do not comply with Canada’s Motor Vehicle Restraint Systems and Booster Cushions Safety Regulations (RSSR) and the applicable Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS), and thus do not carry the National Safety Mark. Every country has its respective child seat standards. Canadian regulations are rigorous and differ from those in other countries. For example, U.S. certified booster seats allow for a lower weight limit than Canadian standards.
The use of non-compliant child seats may not only jeopardize children’s safety and pose a serious danger to the public, but it may also result in repercussions such as:
- Confiscation of the seat at the border or after it has entered Canada;
- Fines and/or demerit point penalties;
- Reduced or voided insurance coverage for injury or death; and
- Possible criminal charges and/or civil litigation.
Additionally, if the seat is purchased outside of Canada and a recall notice is issued, the parent or caregiver may not be informed of the recall or have recourse against the manufacturer.
In summary, when purchasing a child seat for use in Canada, parents and caregivers should look for the National Safety Mark label attached to the seat, indicating that the seat complies with Canadian regulations and standards, and is therefore legal for use in Canada. When shopping online for a child seat, please ensure that the vendor is offering a seat that is certified to Canadian standards and carries the National Safety Mark.
Transport Canada takes this opportunity to remind parents and caregivers to always use a child seat appropriate for your child’s development, weight and height, and to ensure that the child seat is used and installed correctly in the vehicle in accordance with the child seat manufacturer’s instructions.
For more information about child seats and child passenger safety, visit Transport Canada’s Child Safety Web page at www.tc.gc.ca/roadsafety/childsafety/menu.htm or call Transport Canada’s Road Safety Information Centre at <1-800-333-0371(toll-free in Canada).
Note: This consumer information notice was developed in collaboration with the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation (TSF). To learn more about BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation’s comprehensive Child Passenger Safety Program, please visit their Web site at: www.ChildSeatInfo.ca.