Child Passenger Safety Program

Is My Car Seat Installed Properly?

If you have questions regarding the proper installation and use of child passenger safety seats or would like to set up an appointment to have your child safety seat checked, please contact one of the Safe Kids Napa Valley Child Passenger Safety Technicians (PDF)Child in Booster Seat

California Child Passenger Safety Law 

As of January 1, 2012, California law requires all children under 8 years old to ride in a properly secured in a child passenger restraint system (car seat/booster) in the back seat of the vehicle. Children under 8 years old and 4'9'' or taller may use a properly fitting adult seat-belt in the back seat. After January 1, 2012, a violation of this law will be punishable by a fine of nearly $500 and one point on the driver's record. Download a bilingual fact sheet (PDF) about the new car seat law.

Beyond the law, parents and caregivers should follow the Five Point Safety Test for proper safety belt use by asking the following questions.

Five Point Safety Test for Proper Safety Belt Use

  1. Is the child's back against the vehicle seat?
  2. Do the child’s knees bend comfortably over the front edge of the auto seat?
  3. Does the lap belt fit low on the hips, touching the thighs?
  4. Does the shoulder belt fit securely and comfortably between the neck and shoulder?
  5. Can the child stay seated like this for the entire trip?

If the answer to any of the test questions is no, the child is not ready to be safely transported in the seat belt only and should continue to ride in a booster or other appropriate child safety seat.

Remember These Important Safety Points

  • The back seat is the safest place for all passengers, especially for children under 13 years.
  • Airbags and children do not mix! Never, under any circumstances, put a rear-facing seat in front of an active airbag.
  • Keep babies rear-facing to at least one year and 20 pounds. Many convertible seats can be used rear-facing up to 33 or 35 pounds, which is much safer for the toddler, in the event of a crash.

Child Passenger Safety Subcommittee of Safe Kids Napa Valley

Child Passenger Safety Subcommittee of Safe Kids Napa Valley is a local group with the mission to reduce motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries among children in Napa County, through public education, advocacy, and child passenger safety programs and services. Napa County Car Seat Safety Program serves affiliate agencies, departments, hospitals, family service organizations, health and childcare providers, and other professionals and individuals. For more information about Safe Kids Napa Valley Chapter, please call Molly Arnott at 707-252-1123 ext.118 or email Cope Family Center.  

More Information on Child Passenger Safety

  • Child Safety Seats - In California: Answers from the California Highway Patrol about California Child Passenger Safety Law. 
  • "Child Safety" Website: Provides information and resources about buying your child's car seat, deciding whether to let your kids walk to school or take the bus, handing the car keys over to your teenager, or assessing how safe your car is.
  • Car Seat Basics: California Department of Public Health Vehicle Occupant Safety Program; information on car seat basics, laws and regulations, training courses and injury data. 
  • Safe Kids: A national and worldwide organization dedicated to reducing and preventing unintentional childhood injuries and deaths.
  • Child Car Seat Safety: Resources on child passenger safety and instructional videos.
  • Car Seat Information: Answers the questions: Is your car seat safe? Has it been recalled? What is the proper way to install a car seat? Also has printable handouts for parents and caregivers.