Car Seat Safety
The Right Way for Your Child to Ride
Infants & Toddlers
All infants & toddlers should ride in a rear-facing child car seat until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the child car seat, usually about 2 years old.
Toddlers & Preschoolers
Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by the child car seat.
When your child outgrows the forward-facing child car seat, it's time to use a belt positioning booster seat with the car's lap and shoulder belt. Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat-belt properly.
Seat Belts-Older Children
The seat belt fits properly when the lap belt lies snug across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt lies snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injuries to children, but children correctly secured in the right car seat or booster seat are far more likely to survive a crash without major injuries.
UC Davis trauma prevention car seat program
Our car seat program was established in 1995 to make sure that every child discharged from our hospital leaves safer than when they arrived. When a family cannot afford a car seat our program can give them one thanks fo generous funding from the Al & Mary Wickland Fund.
Choosing the right seat for your child
The best and safest child safety seat is one that fits your child, fits in your vehicle and is easy to adjust, so you can do it correctly every single time. Click here for more information.
Always follow the child safety seat instructions and the vehicle manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the seat is being used properly. Click here for more information
LATCH - (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children)
Getting your car seat installation checked
Get your child's safety seats checked to make sure it is installed properly. There are many permanent car seat safety fitting stations in the Sacramento area where you can make sure your car seat is installed properly or you can call our office for a free appointment at (916) 734-9784.
California car seat safety law
California State law requires children to be correctly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat in the back seat of a vehicle until they are 8 years old or 4'9' tall.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children remain in the back seat of a vehicle until age 13 and in a booster seat until the seat belt fits, which is usually about 4’9” tall.
Learn more about car seats
Our program offers free monthly car seat classes that teach parents and care givers how to select and use a car seat. These classes are also available in Spanish every other month. For more information about our car seat classes or for the date of our next class, call (916) 734-9799 or click on the link above.
Car seat safety materials
Car seat information (infant seat through booster seat)
Specialized Child Restraints
For information about our car seat safety DVD, Buckle up to Grow up: Once Step at a Time, call (916) 734-9784. (Available in English, Spanish, Russian and Hmong)
More car seat safety resources
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
The AAP provides extensive car seat safety information for health-care professionals, child passenger safety technicians, and parents.
Car Safety Seats “A Guide for Families”
Children with special transportation needs
Automotive Safety Program, Riley Hospital for Children
The National Center for the Safe Transportation of Children with Special Health Care Needs serves as a resource for families, health care professionals, transportation providers and car seat safety advocates.
California Department of Public Health provides vehicle occupant protection information for parents, child passenger safety technicians and health-care professionals.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a federal government agency responsible for reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes.
Child Safety Seat Recalls
Child Safety Seat Registration Form
Child Safety Seat Complaint Form
Partners for Child Passenger Safety provides information on Keeping Kids Safe During Crashes: Every Child Deserves a Safe Ride site includes videos and other useful information.
Safe Kids Worldwide is a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury, a leading killer of children 14 and under.
Safety Belt Safe U.S.A. provides comprehensive site for parents and child passenger safety technicians.