New standards for children’s car seats set by the federal government, including an increased maximum allowable weight, take effect January 1.

The upgraded requirements for the safety devices put Canada’s rules more in line with those in the United States and “will meet Canada’s highest testing standards and therefore will be as safe as possible,” Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said.

Some of the changes include an increased maximum allowable weight for a car seat to 30 kilograms from 22 kg and changing the definition of an infant to 10 kg from 9 kg to ensure children are in seats appropriate for their size.

Parents won’t have to replace existing car and booster seats once these new regulations take effect in the New Year. A seat should be replaced if it was installed in a vehicle involved in a collision or if the materials on the seat are ripped or damaged. Parents should also check the expiry date on their child’s seat.

Here’s a look at all of the new requirements:

•   a new testing requirement using a three-point seatbelt to secure car seats in vehicles;
•   changes to child seats’ dynamic testing to adopt most of the U.S. testing parameters;
•   changing the definition of an infant from 9 kg to 10 kg;
•   an increase in the maximum allowable weight limit of child seats from 22 kg to 30 kg;
•   introducing dynamic testing requirements for booster seats; and
•   allowing harnesses to be certified for use on school buses by special needs children.

Manufacturers were made aware of the new regulations in May 2010, giving them plenty of time to ensure there are no supply disruptions for customers.

Click here for information on car seat guidelines and proper installation.