Car Seat Safety Program Minimize

California Child Passenger Safety Law states that children under 4'9" need to ride in a booster seat, because they are too small to fit safely in the seatbelt without the booster.  Vehicle safety belts should fit as follows:  lap belt low (touching the thighs), shoulder belt across middle of chest and shoulder (not under arm or behind back), knees bent comfortably without slouching.  If your child does not fit this description, use a booster!

Starting January 1, 2017 - children under 2 years old MUST be rear-facing unless they weigh 40 lbs. or more, or are 40" taller or more.

Child Seat Safety Inspection Sites (by appointment only):

Name:    Phone #
AAA of Capitola
California Highway Patrol 831-662-0511
Capitola Police Department 831-475-4242
Santa Cruz County Health Services 831-454-5477
Scotts Valley Fire Protection District 831-438-0211
Watsonville Fire District 831-768-3200

SEATS for KIDS Program

Child safety seats are provided through Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency SEATS for KIDS Program, with funds from County Vehicle Code fine revenues, grants and private donations.  For more information, call 454-5477. Seats are available for low-income families ($15-$30 donation requested), at the Program Sites listed below. Availablility of car seats is limited, and on a first come/first serve basis.

SEATS for KIDS Program Sites (by appointment only):

Santa Cruz/North County Watsonville/South County

Phone: 831-454-5477


Phone: 831-454-4317


Regular child passenger safety events are also held at Dominican Hospital.  For information or an appointment for one of these events, contact 462-7266 or email:

Child Passenger Safety - Know the Facts! Minimize

Motor vehicle crashes remain the No. 1 killer of kids. However, many of these deaths can be prevented with the proper use of child safety seats. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), child safety seats reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers (1-4 years old).

The problem is most parents and caregivers are unaware of the risk to children when they are not properly restrained in child safety seats. According to a study conducted by DaimlerChrysler, 96 percent of parents and caregivers believe their child safety seats are installed correctly, but NHTSA research shows that seven out of 10 children are improperly restrained, putting them at risk for serious injury or death in a crash.

What are the most common child safety seat installation mistakes?

  • Not using the right child safety seats for a child’s size and age;
  • Not placing the child safety seat in the correct direction;
  • Incorrect installation of the child safety seat in relation to the vehicle’s air bags;
  • Incorrect installation and tightness of the child safety seat to the vehicle seat;
  • Not securing or tightening the child safety seat’s harness and crotch straps;
  • Improper use of locking clips for certain vehicle safety belts;
  • Not making sure the vehicle’s seat belts fit properly across the child when using a booster seat; and
  • Using a defective or broken child safety seat.

Wondering what kind of safety seat your child needs?

Check out this quick primer on child passenger safety, from, then make an appointment with our trained car seat inspectors, at 831-685-6690, to ensure your seat is properly installed.

What Happens During a Car Seat Inspection?

Certified technicians will conduct the child safety seat inspection, taking approximately 30-50 minutes, depending on the seat and the vehicle. The certified inspector will:

  • Check the child safety seat to see that it has been properly installed.
  • Remove and inspect the child safety seat for damage/diagnose problems.
  • Ensure the child safety seat is not a recalled model.
  • Get information about children riders from the vehicle owner (size and weight of child, etc.)
  • Ensure the child safety seat is appropriate for the size and age of the child.
  • Teach the auto owner the correct procedure to properly and safely install the child safety seat in his or her auto.
  • Show the parent or caregiver how to secure the child in the seat.
  • Discuss other vehicles and safety seats they own, and provide instructions to repeat the correct procedure with other seats or when installing the seat in other cars.

Other Safety Links:

Safe Kids USA

Center for Injury Prevention Policy and Practice

California Department of Health Services, State and Local Injury Control (EPIC/SLIC)

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

NHTSA Booster Seat Info:

Car Seat Safety Bill AB 53 Minimize
 TitleSize (Kb) 
Press Release - AB 53136.99Download

Free Car Seat Event 9-29-18 Minimize
Did you know that 75% of child car seats are installed incorrectly? Dominican Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford are offering a free car seat fitting event on Saturday, September 29, 2018. For further details, see the flyer link below, or call Jennifer Blanke at 831-462-7266 to schedule an appointment.
 TitleSize (Kb) 
Car Seat Event Flyer 9-29-18UnknownDownload

Child Passenger Safety Resoources Minimize
County of Santa Cruz Public Health presents this helpful flyer on Child Passenger Safety Resources, including up-to-date inspection sites, free car seat program info, and more. Last update: March 2018.
 TitleSize (Kb) 
Child Passenger Safety Resources1,711.14Download

Recycle Used Car Seats Minimize
Do you have a worn out, broken or recalled infant/child car seat to dispose of? The following centers will accept all plastic seats and bases for safe recycling.  We highly recommend cutting the straps out of used carseats before recycling them, to prevent further use of the seats by those visiting the recycling centers.

Grey Bears Recycling Center

2710 Chanticleer Avenue

Santa Cruz CA 95065

Open every day (excluding holidays), Monday – Sunday, 7:30am – 3:45pm


Buena Vista Recycling Center

1231 Buena Vista Drive (1 mile South of Highway 1)

Watsonville, CA 95076 

Open six days a week (excluding holidays), Monday – Saturday, 7:30am – 3:30pm

If you are not sure if your seat is on a recall list, you can research your model at  

CA Kids Plates Minimize



CA Kids - A License Plate For People with a Passion

Buy a license plate that lets the world know you're a Star!
For the first time, a new specialty license plate lets you use any one of four symbols: Star, Heart, Plus, or a Hand to create a message. Tell the world how great your husband, wife, son or daughter is. Trumpet your skill at your job or hobby. Tell the world whom, or what, you love. Use your car or truck to make a personal statement.

Proceeds from your plate fund programs that benefit California's child injury prevention efforts, such as bicycle safety, drowning prevention, fall prevention, fire and burn prevention, motor vehicle occupant protection, pedestrian safety, poisoning prevention, firearm safety, and sudden infant death syndrome; child abuse prevention and, child care health and safety training. For more information, visit the CA Kids website at

Copyright 2008 by Aptos/La Selva Fire District Powered by Pagoda Technologies LLC Webmaster Login Terms Of Use Privacy Statement