What to Expect at a Car Seat Check
What should you, as a caregiver, expect from a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST)?
The one-on-one education of a safety check usually takes 20-30 minutes, depending on the car seat and the vehicle. The CPST should take all the time necessary to ensure that you feel competent and confident in re-securing the car seat into the vehicle and re-buckling your child into its car seat on your own.
Card your tech! Ask to see proof of his or her current certification.
During the check up, a competent CPST will:
- Fill out a checklist form (including car seat type, location in vehicle, misuse observations, if any, etc.).
- Review car seat selection appropriate for your child’s age, size, and review factors affecting proper use.
- Review the restraint manufacturer’s instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual with the caregiver and ensure that both are being followed correctly.
- Ensure that an appropriate seating position in the vehicle is being used, especially when using LATCH.
- Check the car seat for recalls, visible damage and an expiration date.
- If the seat is unsafe, you should replace the seat since it may not work as it should in a crash.
- Show what is correct or will be corrected before making the adjustment.
- Have you install the car seat(s) correctly using either the seat belt or LATCH system. Feel free to ask to learn how to install the seat with either options or in different seating positions.
- Discuss the next steps for each child, such as when to move to the next type of restraint:
- Rear- to forward-facing car seat
- Forward-facing harnessed seat to a booster seat
- Booster to an adult safety belt
- Discuss the benefits for everyone, including all adults, to riding properly restrained.
- Discuss safety in and around the vehicle (never leaving kids unattended, walking around the vehicle before moving, etc.)
- Discuss your state laws and best practice recommendations for occupant safety.
This tool is brought to you by the Child Restraint Manufacturer’s Consortium.
Consortium Members: Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Compass-Learning Curve, Dorel, Evenflo, Graco, Mia Moda, Orbit, Peg Perego, Recaro, Safe Kids Worldwide, Safe Traffic Systems and Sunshine Kids.