If you are arriving on this page, you have likely asked me a question on social media about car seats. You may have even said … I need help with my car seat. And I am not ignoring you, I promise.
I am REALLY glad you are asking questions, and I want to help. Unfortunately, social media platforms are not always well suited to addressing your unique and very important car seat needs.
Here are ways to find the help you need:
I need help with my car seat:
This includes questions like:
When does my car seat expire? What do I do after an accident? When is my car seat outgrown? How do I convert my car seat to a different mode? Every seat is different!
1- Consult your manual.
Please understand that every car seat has different installation and usage requirements, and sometimes this can even vary between the same model but with different production dates. Your first step when you have an issue or a question about your car seat is to consult the owner’s manual. If you do not have the paper copy, one can be found on the brand’s website. If you are not sure which version of the manual applies to your seat, contact customer service with your date of manufacture and model # and they will help you out.
You will also find summarized information, including height and weight restrictions, on the side stickers of your car seat.
Canadian parents can find links to Canadian car seat manuals via CPSAC’s Caregiver Resources.
Remember that if you have a complaint about your car seat, the best place to direct that complaint is the brand! If there is a common issue among caregivers but a brand never hears about it, they’re unlikely to ever address it.
2- Contact customer service.
Many troubleshooting issues can be resolved by contacting the car seat brand’s customer service via phone or e-mail. Many brands even offer free video installation sessions!
3- Contact a CPST.
If you cannot resolve your concerns after reading the manual or reaching out to the brand, or the brand suggests you meet with a tech, you can find one near you (or one who can meet you virtually if necessary). Canadians can use the CPSAC Find-a-Tech Map or book with me. If you are in the United States, you can find a CPST in your area at Safe Kids. Of course, CPSTs are also happy to meet with you even if you think you’ve got everything done perfectly!
Here’s my article about why it’s worthwhile to meet a CPST!
I want to know if a car seat I am wanting to buy is a good choice:
I will never provide a car seat recommendation without knowing the exact vehicle you drive and the stats of every child passenger on board, including the stats of the child for whom you are purchasing the seat. If someone recommends a seat to you without asking you what vehicle the seat will be used in and for what age and size of child, do not take their advice.
I offer text support services to Canadians hoping to narrow down their list of potential seats. I realize the selection can be overwhelming, and I have extensive experience with the seats available on the Canadian market. If you are local to me in Calgary, I can even test and demonstrate a variety of seats for you at my home. (I do not sell car seats, so there’s no sales pressure, just a CPST helping you figure out which seat best meets your needs.)
If you are looking for reputable car seat reviews, always consult reviews written by CPSTs. Influencers are great at taking glamour shots with their car seats, but typically not very good at helping you understand if a seat will actually work for your child and your vehicle.
Canadians and Americans can find extremely detailed, unbiased reviews at Car Seats for the Littles. (Canadians make sure you are reading the Canadian review or paying attention to any noted differences between the Canadian model and the American model.)
Canadians will also benefit from Vancouver Island Car Seat Tech’s Favourites List. If a car seat you are considering is not on these lists, I would reconsider buying it until speaking to a CPST.
You can consult my own reviews on my blog; note that while I receive seats in exchange for my reviews, I will always be very specific in listing both the pros and cons of a given seat.
I want information about car seat best practices and why I should follow them:
I’m glad you asked! Here are some great links to further educate yourself or your entourage:
- Best Practices for all car seat stages are well outlined in Vancouver Island Car Seat Tech’s 4 Stages (click the link in the menu)
- Printable PDF summaries of each car seat stage are available in CPSAC’s Caregiver Resources
- I also have an FAQ page with lots of info!
I want help installing and using my car seats:
If you are in Canada, you can find a CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) near you, or who offers virtual services, using the CPSAC Find-a-Tech Map.
Note that I offer in-person, virtual and text support services to all Canadians (local service in Calgary, AB), and you can book with me using the Book Now tab. Some technicians like me operate as businesses, while others work as volunteers.
It not at all guaranteed that fire and police stations will have trained CPSTs on staff, and the same goes with stores that sell car seats. Always ensure the person helping you install your car seats has current CPSAC or SafeKids certification.
If you are in the United States, you can find a CPST in your area at Safe Kids. As in Canada, it is unlikely that your local fire or police station has trained technicians on staff. Always confirm that the person who is helping you install your car seat has current training.
I have summarized some of my best TikTok car seat installation tips in this article.
Still need help?
You can reach out to me using the Q&A feature on TikTok, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As mentioned above, you can also find a CPST local to you or who offers virtual consults. Note that I am only able to serve Canadians. A couple American tech colleagues I know are Melissa Yeti & No Sweat Seat Check.