The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that as many as 80 percent of all car seats are improperly installed. That’s a sobering statistic, especially considering that many families will be driving to see relatives and friends this month. Plus, the traffic in Southern California will become even more congested with drivers who are distracted by holiday plans (or worse, tipsy from cocktails at holiday parties).
Luckily, there’s a simple way to help ensure your most important passenger’s safety: Before you get on the road to Grandma’s house, get your child’s car seat or booster seat checked for free at a California Highway Patrol (CHP) division office or other NHTSA-approved child seat inspection station. A CHP officer (or a car seat safety expert) will check the installation of your car seat, or help you install it, to make sure it meets the NHTSA’s safety requirements. It’s worth having your car seat checked even if you think you’ve installed it correctly – it may not be strapped down tightly enough, or it may not be in the safest seat for the make and model of your car. The smallest adjustment can be key in keeping your child safe if you do get into accident.
There are two NHTSA-approved inspection stations in the South Bay:
CHP – South Los Angeles
19700 Hamilton Ave.
Torrance, CA 90502
Call 310.516.3355 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to make an appointment
Kidz Seatz c/o Dockmaster
14015 W. Tahiti Way
Marina Del Ray, CA 90292
Call 310.691.9388 to make an appointment
Remember, once your child outgrows his or her car seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), he or she should ride in a booster seat, in the back seat, until the car’s seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when your child is 4’9” tall).
For more information:
- Child seat safety information from the CHP
- Child seat safety primer from the NHTSA
- List of recalled car seats (updated regularly)
- Child passenger safety information from the NHTSA
- Find an NHTSA-approved child safety seat inspection station near you
- Article about recent baby car seat recall by the Los Angeles Stay-at-Home Moms Examiner