12/29/2011 04:01 EST | Updated 02/28/2012 05:12 EST

Tougher Car Seat Standards Coming Jan. 1


New federal regulations designed to make child car seats safer will take effect on January 1.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Thursday the changes include an increase in how much a child must weigh before graduating to a booster seat or a regular adult seat belt.

Under the new rules, infants will have to be strapped into a special car seat until they weigh at least 10 kilograms.

Child car seats will have to accommodate children weighing up to 30 kilograms, instead of the current 22 kilograms.

Additionally, the rules will allow harnesses to be certified for use on school buses for special needs children. There are also new testing requirements for companies that make car seats.

The federal government said there is no need to replace a child seat as a result of these new standards. However, a child car seat should be replaced if it was installed in a vehicle that is involved in a collision.

The government also said that if the shell or materials on the seat are ripped or damaged, it should be replaced. Parents should also replace the child car seat when it reaches its expiry date.

"As a mom, I want to have confidence that my child is secured in the safest car seat available," Aglukkaq said in a release. "When these new regulations come into force on January 1, child car seats sold in Canada will meet Canada's highest testing standards and therefore will be as safe as possible."