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injury and violence prevention (ivp) Branch

​​Car Seat BasicsMother%20buckling%20in%20child

Correctly installing a child safety seat can be challenging. The resources below are designed to help you learn how to select and correctly install the best seat for your child and vehicle, and how to correctly secure your child into the safety seat. ​​

Getting Help From Your Local Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Programs

Individual education to safely install and use your car seat

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, 8,325 lives have been saved by the proper use of child restraints during the past 30 years. However, NHTSA has found that three out of four child safety seats are improperly installed. Failure to read the child safety seat instructions, in addition to vehicle owner manual instructions regarding installation, could result in serious injury or death as a result of a failure of the child safety seat to be securely or properly restrained. To help parents and caregivers to properly secure their children the Vehicle Occupant Safety Program (VOSP) has identified the following organizations that provide child safety seat fitting stations throughout the state. These stations provide assistance to parents by offering certified safety seat technicians to c​heck their seats (and some offer low cost car seats) either through appointments and/or specific check up days each week or month. Some stations offer bi-lingual services.

Listed below are links to organizations that provide these services:

  • Who’s Got Car Seats? is the California statewide directory of CPS programs and services in California by county, which also includes the contact information for the CPS Coordinator in every local health department. Check to see which organizations provide car seat inspection services.

  • SAFE KIDS Coalitions and Chapters - educational materials, car seat distribution programs, child safety seat installation, and CPS training.

  • California Highway Patrol Area Offices - Locations that provide information and car seat inspection services.

  • NHTSA Child Safety Seat Inspection Locator - Locations that provide information about local CPS services and car seat inspection services.

  • AAA - Locations that provide information and car seat inspection services.

Choosing and Using a Car Seat


  • Car Safety Seats Guide for Families (American Academy of Pediatrics)  - AAP recommendations based on the peer-reviewed literature available at the time of its publication, and sets forth some of the factors that parents should consider before selecting and using a car safety seat.
  • NHTSA Child Safety Seat Ease of Use Ratings - Information about child safety seat features to help parents and caregivers find the right child safety for their needs.
  • Car Seat Recall List - It is very important to pay attention to recall notices and to check if car seats need to be repaired or replaced. This list will show recalls issued for any failure to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213.

Using a Car Seat

Educational Materials 

Best Practice

Public Education and Campaign Materials

For additional information, please contact IVPB at​​

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