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7 Reasons You Should See a Car Seat Technician [And how to find one!]

I’m a really big advocate of “listen to your gut” parenting.

I don’t particularly endorse or subscribe to any specific parenting method, and I have no parenting books to recommend. I subscribe to the “you do you” method … like, sure, take advice from whomever you want (just maybe not Dr. Oz?), but ultimately, make your parenting decisions based on what is best for YOUR family.

Even if no other women in your family breastfed, breastfeed! If you want to sleep train but your BFF is a co-sleeper, sleep train away! Prefer strollers over baby carriers? Keep on rollin’! Cloth diapers are your jam even if your in-laws hate them? Fluff those butts!

There are many “this or that” debates in parenting that are unnecessary because there is no right way or wrong way to accomplish 99.9% of parenting tasks. Here are seven undebatable reasons why you should see a car seat technician.

1- Car seat safety is not a choice.

Using car seats correctly is a matter of right or wrong. It can (lest I sound overdramatic) be a matter of life or death … or minor injury versus severe injury.

Each year, on average, 3500 Canadian children are injured in motor vehicle collisions and 61 are killed. [source]

Getting into a vehicle with our children is statistically the most dangerous thing we do with them on a daily basis. Using car seats correctly is a concrete and effective action that every parent can take. And I do mean every parent. There are car seat solutions to fit any budget. There are car seat solutions for families that only travel in friends’ vehicles or taxis.

2- Car seats are surprisingly difficult to use correctly. Most car seats are installed INCORRECTLY.

Statistics on car seat misuse vary depending on the source. I often see stats that about 50% of seats are used incorrectly. As a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST), the unofficial statistic I hear from my colleagues is pretty close to 100%. And it’s not because parents are stupid or careless. It’s because there are a lot of things to know about car seats and vehicles that I only know because I took a three-day course and now know exactly where and how to find answers to most car seat issues.

3- A car seat technician has specialist knowledge.

When I completed my CPST training, I was horrified by how much I—a diligent parent if I do say so myself—had done and was still doing incorrectly when it came to my children’s car seats. I felt frustrated on behalf of safety-conscious parents everywhere: you could follow your car seat manual word for word and still not have your child’s seat correctly installed. There is just so much to know, and a CPST will know (or will know how to find out) all the information you need to use your seats in your vehicle. I typically spend at least an hour on research before I help someone with their unique car seat and vehicle needs.

4- A car seat technician will empower you to use your seats correctly.

A CPST is not a car seat installer. Yes, we will install your seats, but mainly, we will TEACH YOU how to install your seats. Say goodbye to the stress you feel when you need to take out your car seat to clean the car or you need to swap your seat into a different vehicle. When you know how to do it, and when you know what information you need to do it correctly in an unfamiliar scenario, the process will go smoothly!

5- A car seat technician can save you money.

One of the most frustrating things for CPSTs (and parents!) is parent has shelled out hard-earned cash for a car seat that doesn’t meet their needs or cannot be used safely given their child’s size and age or their vehicle. No parent wants to hear that the $300 car seat they can no longer return is useless to them, and no CPST wants to be the bearer of that news.

If you get in touch with a CPST before you put an infant seat on your baby shower registry or before you head to the store to get your child’s next car seat, you can avoid buying the wrong seat for your situation. I admit that I used to think that any car seat would fit any vehicle. This is simply not the case It’s really easy to fall into the trap of “oh, my sister has this seat and loves it!” But has your sister had her seat checked? Do you own the exact same vehicle and have the exact same aged/sized child as her?

If you have a budget in mind, a CPST can help you respect that budget and meet your child’s needs. CPSTs often know where to get the best price, too! Some CPSTs will even go to the store with you to help you pick the right seat.

Certain seats are flat-out incompatible with certain vehicles. This is the kind of knowledge that techs learn with experience and through networking with other techs. The info can be difficult to find as a consumer because no manufacturer or store wants to tell you that the seat they’re selling won’t work for you. Car seat techs have no ulterior motive and make no money from selling you a given car seat!

6- A car seat technician won’t judge you.

Behind every CPST is a parent or caregiver who has made their own mistakes in the past. Having your car seat checked is not a pass/fail scenario. We don’t care if your car has Cheerios and used tissues on the floor. We don’t care if every aspect of your installation needs to be corrected: we just want to teach you how to do it correctly.

7- A car seat technician can help you plan for the future.

Meeting with a tech for a “prenatal” check can set you on the path of future car seat success. Whether you’re planning on a big family or if you know you’ll be switching vehicles within the next couple of years, your tech can help you plan for those eventualities. Stay in contact with your tech: when it’s time to move to the next stage, when you have a problem or a doubt, they’ll be happy to help you out.

Whether your child is 0 or 12, any time is a good time to meet with a car seat tech.

Prenatal checks are a great way to know you’re leaving the hospital with baby riding safely. It can also prevent you from being told incorrect things about your seat by well-meaning nurses. But whether you’re about to shell out the big bucks for a deluxe new seat or your child has been using the same seat for a couple of years, any time is a good time to meet a tech and learn how to use your seats correctly.

And when I say 12, I do indeed mean that a child who is no longer in a seat of any kind can benefit from meeting with a tech. Techs are also trained to make sure older children fit the adult seat belt correctly. Many children are taken out of boosters too soon, and there are some great, super-low-profile boosters than can help achieve a safe fit for older kids without being obvious.

There’s a car seat tech that will fit your budget.

I’m a big advocate for CPSTs charging for their services: our time and expertise is valuable. That said, there is always going to be a way to get your car seat checked without having to pay. There are community-based car seat clinics where techs volunteer their time. There are techs who simply do not charge. Techs who charge for car seat checks often offer many value-added services, such as going to the store with you. In all honesty, even if you pay a technician for their time, you’re still going to come out ahead because they’ll have saved you a lot of time and probably money. (Plus, they’ll have made your children safer!)

Techs certified by the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada are insured for volunteer checks and those who run their own businesses will have purchased additional insurance.

We parents have so much on our minds: meeting with a CPST will give you peace of mind that your car seats are safe and used correctly.


 Canadian Car Seat Tech Directory

To find a CPST near you, you can check the Find-a-Tech Map, or contact one of the CPSAC-trained technicians listed here. Some are businesses, some work as volunteers. In the USA? Start here.



BC
Abbotsford/Fraser Valley Janice carseatjanice@gmail.com
Clayton Heights/Cloverdale and North Delta Danielle Car Seat Safety
Langley & surrounding Stacey Safety Stacey
Shuswap/Thompson/Okanagan Kayla Maternal Oak Doula
North and West Vancouver, Vancouver Holly Safer Seats
Okanagan Beckah beckahchasteneycpst@gmail.com
Victoria Stefanie themonarchmommy@gmail.com
AB
province-wide Car Seat Techs of Alberta
Calgary / Marda Loop Lindsay Car Seat Cubs
NW Calgary Jennifer Calgary Car Seats
Calgary area Melanie Melanie S. Car Seat Tech
Calgary area Julia fowler.julia@gmail.com
Calgary Randi info@butterflybabydoula.com
South Calgary Cailin scailin@hotmail.com
South Calgary Anna calgarycpst@gmail.com
Calgary/Central Alberta Sonja Tender Touches Doula Services
Chestermere (Calgary) Elaine safelyseated@gmail.com
Calgary/Cochrane Amy amy.levie@gmail.com
Okotoks and surrounding Hazel Belts & Buckles
South Edmonton Christine Buckle Up Butter Cup
South Edmonton Deanna Buckets to Belts
Edmonton and area Samantha Car Seat Connection
Fort McMurray/Wood Buffalo Angie Buckle Up Wood Buffalo
Edmonton and surrounding Trudy Edmonton Car Seats
SK
Province-wide  Joshua Sask Seats
MB
Winnipeg Jen Grey Bird
Winnipeg and surrounding Susanne Carry Kiss Connect
Morden, Pembina Valley Julie Pembina Valley Car Seat Techs
Winnipeg & rural (can help find someone in most of MB) Erin Manitoba Child Passenger Safety Coalition
ON
Deep River, Arnprior Allana  Allana CPST
Renfrew County Jessie/Allana Renfrew County Car Seats 
Cornwall, Apple Hill and surrounding Tracey Cornwall Car Seats
GTA including Halton Melissa + Stephanie Lil’ Squirts
GTA and surrounding Stephanie GTA Installs
Scarborough and East Toronto Celia Celia A. CPST
Ottawa Seats for Kids
Ottawa Best Fit Car Seats
Ottawa Sean Safe Seats Ottawa
Ottawa and surrounding Sharalyn Car Seat Maven 
Ottawa Rae Chartreuse Industries
Oshawa Lauren Precious Cargo
Kingston area Kelly KB Carseating
KW, Cambridge, Guelph and surrounding Carly Carly K, CPST
KW, Cambridge, Guelph, Stratford, Woodstock Amy The Nesting Instinct
Stratford and surrounding April Marley and Me
London, St. Thomas and surrounding Katie London Car Seat Safety
London Lisa May Bump and Beyond
Across southern Ontario Shelby, Amy, Eva Soap My Ride
Hamilton Jennifer Healthy Families Hamilton
Halton, Peel, GTA Jennifer Jenmcinnis.cpst@gmail.com
Burlington, Oakville & Milton Rachael Halton Car Seat Installations
Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham, North York Debbi Harmony Yoga
Sarnia-Lambton area Lo-Anne theloeyproject@gmail.com
 York Region, South Simcoe and New Tecumseth  Rebecka Safe Travels Car Seat Services 
QC
Montreal & surrounding *service disponible en français* Marie + Luis Little Cupcakes in Car Seats
Montreal & surrounding Marwa + Angela Kids en Route
NS
Wolfville Miranda Inquisitive Baby
HRM, East Hants and surrounding Melissa Melissa M. CPST
NB
Moncton area Amy Greater Moncton Car Seat Safety Coalition
 Fredericton Kelly NB Safe Little Passengers
Atlantic Provinces Child Safety Link 1-866-288-1288

childsafetylink@iwk.nshealth.ca





4 responses to “7 Reasons You Should See a Car Seat Technician [And how to find one!]”

  1. Jen

    Where did you get that shirt!? I’m about to take the cpst training…and would love a shirt lile that 😀

    1. Lindsay

      Are you in Canada or the US? I got it from one of the ladies in the Canadian FB group that you get to join once you’re certified!

  2. […] And if you missed it the first time, you can go back to the post I wrote in February about what a CPST can do for you. […]

  3. […] Car Seat Techs have a certain lingo that may be incomprehensible to the non-tech crowd, and this incudes nicknames for different car seats. […]

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Welcome to my Wolf Pack!

My name is Lindsay and I am a 40-year-old mama of four trying to live an eco-friendly, budget-friendly life! I am a substitute teacher and Child Passenger Safety technician in Calgary, Alberta. Join me on my adventures!

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