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Make sure your child's car seat is safely installed: South Bay inspection stations

Make sure your child's car seat is safely installed: Have it checked at your local CHP office.
Make sure your child's car seat is safely installed: Have it checked at your local CHP office.
Photo courtesy of Tracy Benn

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:


  • Martin Hill, L.A. County Libertarian examiner 5 years ago

    While i have no problem with people properly buckling their kids in, I don't think it's hard to do, and hardly warrants a trip down to the revenue agent headquarters. Knowing cops these days, if a person's kid was inadvertently not properly buckled in, the pigs would probably call child services and seize the kid from the parents on the spot. do not trust the po-lice, a word to the wise. ;-)

  • Beverly 5 years ago

    LOL! But, no worries -- the police will not seize anyone for not having their kid's car seat buckled in properly. It's actually not as easy as it looks to truly install a car seat correctly. A close friend (who's a second-time mom) recently found out that her car seat was actually installed in the wrong spot in her backseat, for her particular car. It's free to get a seat checked out, and it buys parents some peace of mind.

  • Victoria Nicks (LA Heath Technology Examiner) 5 years ago

    Great article- it's virtually impossible to get those seats in there securely unless you're an expert, and correct installation makes such a difference for safety. The CHP inspects and installs for free, so there's really no reason not to take advantage of this service.