Public Safety

Law Enforcement Reminds Parents to Choose Right Car Seat to Fit Child

Infant sitting in a rear-facing car seat.

Is the child safety seat your child is using going to work effectively in a traffic collision? Unfortunately, it may not if it is the wrong size.

An alarming statistic by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that 46% of car seats are not used properly.

As part of Child Passenger Safety Week, San Diego County law enforcement agencies are joining health and community agencies to raise awareness about the importance of keeping children in the correct size child safety seat.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department offers a free car seat installation training class that teaches parents or caregivers how to correctly install a car seat, adjust it, and assess when it is time to get another size car seat. The class is offered by appointment at the North Coastal Sheriff’s Station in Encinitas. The class is taught by instructors who have passed the National Child Passenger Safety Certification Training Program by Safe Kids Worldwide/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Call (760) 966-3500 to schedule an appointment.

Under California law, children under two weighing less than 40 pounds and less than 40 inches tall are required to be in a rear-facing car seat. Children under the age of eight or less than 4 feet 9 inches tall must be secured in a car or booster seat. The fine for not securing a child in the correct child safety seat is $490.

Law enforcement recommends that even if parents think they have right car seat and believe it is installed properly, it doesn’t hurt to get it inspected to be certain.

The National Highway Transportation District website notes these agencies offer car seat inspections locally:

  • Rady Children’s Hospital on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. No appointment required.
  • California Highway Patrol El Cajon office. Call for an appointment at (619) 401-2000.
  • California Highway Patrol Pacific Highway office. Call for an appointment at (619) 220-5492.
  • California Highway Patrol Oceanside office. Call for an appointment at (760) 757-1675.
  • La Mesa Police Department. First Tuesday of each month from 9 to 11 a.m. First come, first served. No appointment necessary. Free to La Mesa residents and $49 for non-residents.
  • Tot Squad in Vista. Call for an appointment at (858) 859-2331.
  • Buy Buy Baby in Encinitas on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon. No appointment necessary.
  • Voices Hispanas radio station. Call for an appointment at (858) 621-2313.
Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact