Canadians: Issues for buying carseat in US? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-15-2009, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is outgrowing his current seat (Scenara). DS has special needs and I like the harness weight limit of 65lbs. We are on a tight budget. I do a bit of shopping in the US and am always price comparing. One seat I am looking at is the Graco Nautilus. There is a $100 price difference (plus plus when you add tax) between buying it here in Canada or in the states. I know that there are more costs involved here, a few minor differences in standards,etc but a $100 difference?! These extreme price differences never fail to amaze me.

So I'm sure I will get flamed - buy canadian, etc. but sometimes you have to make hard choices when you don't have the extra money. My question is what are the issues for using a US carseat here? I know it won't have the canadian safety sticker but I don't consider the seat to be unsafe simply because it was bought in the US. Are there huge differences in the safety standards?

I hate admitting that $130 is a big deal but it is...plus I sometimes feel like we are getting ripped off up here! Sooo many things cost alot more.
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:20 PM
 
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The seat is probably the same, but it is not legal for Canadians to use a US-certified seat.

Carseat-checking (CPST) and WAH mama to a twelve-year-old girl.
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:06 AM
 
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It may be the same...but it may not be. I investigated the same thing for an infant seat as my daughter was born in the US but I knew we'd be moving back to Canada within the year. No one -- not Transport Canada, National Transportation Safety Board (US), or Graco in the US or Canada -- could tell me if the seat was the same. What they would say was that the two countried have different rules, and that the seats are manufactured to the specs of those countries. It was illegal to use a US seat in Canada, but apparently no one knew (including NTSB - WTH?) if it was legal to use a Canadian seat in the US. So that's what I did and then moved home with it.

If you're caught, you could be fined, as it's definitely not legal.
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:24 AM
 
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Okay, I can answer that.

If you are a Canadian temporarily visiting the US, you can use a Canadian seat during your visit.

If you are a US resident (your legal residence is in the US and your car is registered in the US and you have a US driver's license), you must use a US-certified seat -- so not a Canadian, European, or other seat.

Oh, and not that you will ever need this again, but NHTSA is the agency that regulates carseat usage, not NTSB. (NTSB handles airplanes, I think.)

Carseat-checking (CPST) and WAH mama to a twelve-year-old girl.
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Old 09-16-2009, 01:01 AM
 
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I wouldn't do it 'cause plain & simple it's illegal & in the worst case scenario things would be worse if it was found out you were using a seat not approved for use in Canada.

Frustrating, eh?!

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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Old 09-16-2009, 06:41 PM
 
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Ditto and ditto, it's illegal and not worth it IMO.

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

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Old 09-17-2009, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I did buy one today. Found it on sale for $199 compared to $259 at other places. I found a CTV news piece that said if you were in an accident your insurance could be void.
Now just having a wee bit of trouble with the install...will enlist DH to get it tight.
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Old 09-17-2009, 04:32 AM
 
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NTSB is general traffic safety (including highway); NHTSA is specific to highway traffic only

CPST & mom

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Old 09-17-2009, 11:09 AM
 
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I guess I'm breaking the law....my three kid's seats were purchased in US while we lived there, our vehicle was as well.
I think the law could be better enforced, and more easy to accept if the Canadian car seat market would stop gouging it's customers. A $20 maximum price difference is reasonable, and happens regularly depending on where you shop.
But $100-$150, that's just a money grab that preys on the fears of parents.
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Old 09-17-2009, 12:05 PM
 
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Most of the issues have been raised here already... in particular the fact that it's illegal and your insurance may be void.... my other concern would be seat recall information, repair kits and seat replacements.

The Canadian and American recalls are not necessarily the same. If the recall applies in only one country the media isn't going to report it in both. There is no guarantee that the company would mail recall information or repair kids to you in Canada, or that they would help you out with replacing the seat if necessary. Sometimes recalls happen in one country but not another simply because only certain lot numbers are effected, but often one government applies different standards and requires a recall to be made while another country does not.

My other thought (and I don't know how this applies to the Nautilus), but what do you do when the manufacturers guidelines and instructions aren't the same for both countries? Do you use the seat according to the Canadian guidelines and go against the instructions that came with the seat, or do you use the seat according to the American specs (I'm thinking of situations when the same seat is certified for different weight limits in each country)?

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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Old 09-17-2009, 03:31 PM
 
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Thanks for the info re NTSB and NHSTA - now I can't remember which one I called. But whoever it was was extremely useless and seemed to know absolutely nothing. But anyway...

A friend DID try to get warranty replacement parts for their US carseat sent to Canada, where they now live. And Canadian customs wouldn't let it over the border, for the exact reasons already mentioned.

Also a very good point about which install directions you follow. I think the rear-facing limits are different on my Britax for US vs Cdn regs. Maybe FF too.
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Old 09-17-2009, 03:54 PM
 
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They are actually getting pretty strict about US seats in CA--I know someone who got a massive ticket for having a US seat, and she had another one confiscated when crossing the border. They are also doing routine traffic stops to check seats and you get ticketed and fined.

CPST & mom

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Old 09-17-2009, 06:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by an_aurora View Post
They are actually getting pretty strict about US seats in CA--I know someone who got a massive ticket for having a US seat, and she had another one confiscated when crossing the border. They are also doing routine traffic stops to check seats and you get ticketed and fined.
:

Having your seat confiscated would suck. I wouldn't do it, not for any money.

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Old 09-17-2009, 09:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by childsplay View Post
I guess I'm breaking the law....my three kid's seats were purchased in US while we lived there, our vehicle was as well.
I think the law could be better enforced, and more easy to accept if the Canadian car seat market would stop gouging it's customers. A $20 maximum price difference is reasonable, and happens regularly depending on where you shop.
But $100-$150, that's just a money grab that preys on the fears of parents.
Or it could be because there are extra costs in getting a seat approved in Canada, not to mention the costs of freight across such a large country.
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Old 09-20-2009, 07:13 AM
 
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Re: voliding your insurance. Honestly, if they took it that far, i'd get lawyer. Seriously, it's not like you were endangering your kids or anyone else. We live in Switzerland. We have family in the USa and a house and more family in Canada. We will likely move to Canada in the coming years. We have Swedish, AMerican and Swiss seats. I will not be replacing them. Firstly, we have rearfacing Swedish seats (till 25 kg) and I will not be replacing them. Why? Because they are safer rearfacing. Period. Secondly, it's expensive. If our Canadian insurance company were to make a stink and try to invadiate our insurance based on us not having "Canadian" seat, I would take a lawyer, b/c it's patently ridiculous.

I understand it's against the law, but honestly my children's safety comes first and if it meant getting a fine or having to fight it in court so be it.
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:24 PM
 
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Good point etoilech - but most people would do it to save money not make their children safer. I guarantee if it wasn't illegal most of my friends irl would buy american carseats & still have their children ff as soon as they possibly could. That's really why it's an issue.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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