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Child Car Seat Compliance Testing

Transport Canada verifies that children's seats meet Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. We buy child car seats from retail stores and conduct four main categories of tests: dynamic testing, buckle release testing, energy-absorbing material testing and inversion testing.

All child car seats are tested in a consistent and repeatable manner, as per the applicable safety standard. A seat either passes or fails the various tests. The results are not meant to be used to rate individual child car seats or to compare them against each other. The American and European regimes are similar in this respect.

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Dynamic Testing

This test measures the safety of the infant or child seat during a full-frontal collision at 48 km/h. It is carried out on an acceleration sled that is equipped with a standard bench seat. A crash test dummy is buckled into the infant or child seat, which is then secured to the bench seat using a seat belt or universal anchorages, and a tether strap, where required. The acceleration sled simulates a full-frontal collision at 48 km/h into a wall. High-speed cameras and other sensing devices installed on the sled and on the dummy allow us to check the structural integrity of the infant or child seat as well as measuring:

  • How far forward the dummy's head moves;
  • How fast the dummy's chest moves; and
  • How much a rear-facing child seat rotates.

Buckle Release Testing

This test measures the force needed to release the buckle of the infant or child seat before and after the dynamic test. This is to ensure that the child can be safely removed following a collision.

Energy-Absorbing Material Testing

This test measures the thickness and the resistance to compression of the padding material. This test measures the thickness of the child seat's cushions and how well they protect a child by absorbing the shock of a collision.

Inversion Testing

This test measures the safety of a child car seat during a simulated 360-degree roll in an aircraft. It is done by installing the child car seat on a representative aircraft passenger seat equipped with an aircraft lap belt and rotating the seat to the inverted position (upside down) and through a full 360-degree rotation. The aircraft passenger seat belt must keep the child seat in place, and the dummy must not fall out of the child car seat. In Canada, child car seats must meet these requirements in order to be certified for use in aircraft.