Car Seat Safety
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for children ages 1 through 12 years. To protect against this tragedy, parents must have the proper information and resources they need to correctly buckle up their children in the car.
Low Cost Car Seats
New car seats are available for purchase at low cost for parents who meet eligibility requirements, and are expecting, or have a child who is in need of a car seat. Car seats available include convertible size rear-facing and forward-facing car seats for newborn infants and toddlers; and combination/booster seats for forward-facing and booster seat aged children.
For more information, call 1(800) 782-4264. Parents enrolled in the program must also complete the car seat safety class to purchase a new car seat at low cost.
Car Seat Safety Class
A free car seat safety class for parents and other care providers is offered each month in English and Spanish in San Bernardino. Classes are taught by certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST).
Classes provide instruction on:
- California buckle-up laws
- Basic crash dynamics
- How car seats and seat belts protect in a crash
- Proper seat belt use and correct installation of car seats
Call 1(800) 782-4264 to sign up for a class.
Violator Intervention Program (VIP)
VIP classes are for persons that are cited for not properly buckling up children and receive a referral from the courts or law enforcement. Classes are held each month in English and in Spanish in San Bernardino only.
There is a $50 fee for the class. Participants who successfully complete the class are issued a certificate of completion for the court. Call 1(800) 782-4264 to register for the class.
Car Seat Check Up Appointment
Installing a child’s car seat may sometimes be confusing. To speak with a Child Passenger Safety Technician, request educational resources, or to schedule a car seat check-up call 1(800) 782-4264.
Key Fact: The harness on a child should be comfortably snug. Pinch the harness strap where it crosses your child’s shoulders. If you pinch any slack on the harness it is too loose.
California’s Child Passenger Safety Law
Birth – 2 Years
Infant / Convertible / 3-In-1
All children under age 2 must be properly secured in a rear-facing car seat.
Rear-facing is the safest way for small children to travel.
They should remain rear-facing until they reach 2 years of age or until they exceed the height or weight limit of the car seat.
2 – 4 Years
Convertible / 3-In-1 / Combination
All children under age 4 must be properly secured in a car seat with an internal harness.
A 5-point harness is the safest restraint system and should be used as long as possible (until the child exceeds the harness’ weight limit).
4 – 8 Years
3-In-1 / Combination Booster
All children at least 4 years old (but younger than age 8) must ride in a child passenger restraint system or booster seat, unless they are taller than 4’9″.
A booster seat should be used until the child can properly fit into a seat belt.
8 Years +
Back seat for safest travel.
All children taller than 4’9″ (or age 8 and up) should be restrained in a seat belt.
Front seat airbags may hurt small children.
Riding in the back seat of the vehicle is the safest way for children to travel.
California Car Seat Law
Effective January 1, 2017
Children Under Age 8
Must be buckled into a car seat or booster in the back seat.
Children Age 8 or Older, or 4’9″ or Taller
May use the vehicle seat belt if it fits properly with the lap belt low on the hips, touching the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt crossing the center of the chest. If children are not tall enough for proper belt fit, they must ride in a booster or car seat.
Children Under Age 2
Starting January 1, 2017, children under 2 years old must be rear-facing unless they weigh 40 pounds or more, or are 40 inches tall or more.
Children must be properly buckled in a car seat which is rear-facing until age 2.
Rear-facing is 5 times safer than forward-facing.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ride rear-facing to the highest weight or height allowed by the care seat manufacturer.
It’s against California law to leave a child under the age of 7 alone in the car without the supervision of a person at least 12 years old if:
1. The keys are in the ignition or the car is running, or
2. There is a significant risk to the child
Fines & Penalties
For each child under 16 who is not properly secured, parents (if in the car) or drivers can be fined more than $500 and get a point on their driving records.