Stage 4: Seat Belts

Download Stage 4: Seat Belts

Don’t hurry. It is best to keep your child in a booster seat as long as possible. If your child has outgrown his or her booster seat, you must check that the seat belt fits him or her correctly before switching to Stage 4.

How to buckle up your child the right way

A girl wearing her seat belt

SHOULDER BELT
The shoulder belt should rest on your child’s shoulder, never on the neck or arm. It should never be behind the back or tucked in under the arm.

LAP BELT
The lap belt should be snug against your child’s hips, and not on the stomach.

Is your child tall enough for a seat belt?

Your child must be able to sit up straight, with his or her back against the back of your vehicle’s seat. Your child’s legs should be able to hang over the seat without slouching. Slouching makes the lap belt move up over the stomach when it should be over the hips.

Wearing a seat belt

BACK
The child’s back is against the back of the vehicle’s seat.

LEGS AND FEET
The knees hang over the seat, and the feet are on the floor.

NOT READY

If your child can’t sit in the right position, he or she is still too short for a seat belt and should stay in a booster seat for a while longer. If your child has outgrown his or her booster seat, you may be able to buy one that fits your child before switching to a seat belt.

BACK
The child’s back is not against the back of the vehicle’s seat.

LEGS AND FEET
The knees cannot hang over the seat, and the feet are not on the floor.

SHOULDER BELT
The shoulder belt should not be on the child’s neck.

LAP BELT
The lap belt should not rest on the stomach.

Child not ready for a seat belt

When can your child sit in the front seat of the car?

Kids 12 and under should always be in the back seat. Most cars have front seat air bags, and these can hurt small children if the bags inflate during a crash or sudden stop. The safest place in the car for children is always in the back seat.

Important tips

  • Do not leave loose items in your vehicle during a trip, as they may hit and hurt someone in a sudden stop.
  • When using bulky winter clothing, whenever possible route the vehicle seat belt underneath the jacket to ensure that the lap belt is tight on the child’s hips.

Keep Kids Safe - Stage 4: Seat Belts
(PDF, 461 KB)

If you need more information on road safety, please contact us by email at mvs-sa@tc.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-333-0371 (Ottawa area 613-998-8616).

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