Would your car seat pass inspection?

Every parent knows a car seat is a ‘must have’ for their little ones, so how come experts say approximately 80% of car seats are installed incorrectly?

According to the NHTSA, car crashes are a leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. It’s imperative that families choose AND use the right car seat for their child and use it correctly every time. Some things to keep in mind are weight and height limits, installation, shoulder strap and chest clip placement, and a snug fit.  According to the CDC,  correctly used car seat can reduce injuries in an accident by 71-82% and a booster seat (for ages 4-8) by 45% compared to the seat belt alone.

Arizona law requires all children under 8 years old and under 4’9” tall to be restrained in a child safety seat. Depending on the age, height, weight, and maturity level of your child this might be an infant car seat, rear facing or forward facing convertible car seat, or booster seat. For children who no longer need a car seat or booster seat they must be secured with your vehicle’s seat belt restraints. The safety place for a child to ride is in the back seat! While you might have been told that the middle is the safest place to secure your child keep in mind that the BEST place to secure the car seat is where you can get the best fit and use properly every single time. Make sure to check the expiration date.

If you’re unsure that your car seat is installed correctly, or if you’re struggling to get a good fit consider visiting one of the free car seat checks available in the Valley.

Safe Kids Maricopa County
Safe Kids Maricopa County and Child Crisis Arizona typically partner with local businesses to provide free car seat checks during the year. The upcoming event is February 26th, 2022 and offers an easy drive through process to have your car seat inspected by a trained safety expert to ensure proper installation.

Banner Health Car Seat classes

Banner Health offers parent car seat and CAPP (see below) classes the 3rd Saturday of each month except July and December. Call 480-230-CARE(2273) to find out more. See their car seat safety information here.

CAPP (Children Are Priceless Passengers) Program

This class was initiated to reduce infant and toddler deaths by educating parents or caregivers on proper car seat safety. These two hour classes are $35 and offered in English and Spanish. Money collected from these courses is used to help families purchase car seats if needed. Upon completion of the course participants will install their own car seat in their vehicle and have the installation checked by experts. Currently, the CAPP Program has expanded to 9 locations throughout the state.  Classes are taught by police, fire, health/social services, public organizations, and school districts.  The CAPP Program has been recognized both nationally and state-wide as a model community partnership program. To see the schedule or sign up, click here.

Dignity Health Car Seat Clinics

Certified child passenger safety technicians at Mercy Gilbert will ensure you have the appropriate car seat and that it’s installed correctly. These technicians have been trained and certified by taking a 32-hour class to learn how to instruct you on the proper installation and use of your child safety seat. To learn more about the next free clinic at Mercy Gilbert, please call (480) 728-5414.

City of Chandler

Chandler offers two locations for car seat safety checks as part of their outreach program and you can make an appointment here.

City of Gilbert

Gilbert Fire & Rescue is committed to keeping families safe by offering car seat installation and safety checks. Gilbert Fire and Rescue holds clinics on the first Thursday of the month and are by appointment only. Please call (480) 503-6300 for an appointment.

City of Goodyear

Goodyear offers appointments by appointment only year-round. Call the Goodyear Car Seat Hotline at 623-882-SEAT (7328) or request an appointment online. A Child Passenger Seat Technician will return your call within 5 business days.  Please allow 45 minutes per inspection and bring your car seat instruction booklet, vehicle manual to your scheduled appointment.

City of Maricopa

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department Car Seat Technicians are available on Thursdays from 9:00 to Noon by appointment only to do car seat installations and inspections. Visit maricopa-az.gov for more information.

City of Mesa

MFMD Nationally Certified Car Seat Techs assist and educate residents on the proper installation of child passenger safety seats. To make an appointment click here.

City of Peoria

Free car seat checks Monday-Thursday by appointment only at 8351 W Cinnabar Ave. Peoria, AZ 85345.. For more information or to schedule an appointment please call 623-773-7919 or visit peoriaaz.gov.

City of Phoenix

Phoenix fire stations offer multiple opportunities to get your car seat inspected! There are 4 locations with availability on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays during the year. To make a reservation click here.

City of Scottsdale

Scottsdale fire departments offer car seat checks year-round. Summer hours are generally from 7-11 am.  Cooler months are usually 8-Noon.  To make an appointment click here. If you have more than one car seat make sure to make an extra appointment.

City of Tempe

Tempe Fire Medical Rescue offers free car seat checks by appointment only every Tuesday during the year. You can make your appointment here.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital

PCH offers free car seat checks by appointment during the year . Find out more information here.

National resources

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers parents tips on making sure their car seat will protect their baby in a crash, including this 30-second video, “Car Seat Tips.” More information, including how-to videos on car seat installation, is available at healthychildren.org.

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Association maintains an online car seat safety inspection stations locator. The NHTSA also has links to help parents find the right car seat, get the latest car seat recall information and more.

Safe Kids USA features research on car seats and placement and motor vehicle safety facts sheets.

Twice a year, you can bring an old, expired or damaged car seat to Target and recycle it to redeem a coupon on your Target app or Target.com/circle for 20% off one car seat, one stroller or select baby gear. Materials from the old car seats are recycled by Target’s partner, Waste Management.

Need to recycle your car seat? Here’s how to do it.

RELATED: How safe is your car seat? 

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