Car Seat Checks | The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Car Seat Safety for Kids

Car Seat Checks

When you consider the many kinds of vehicles and safety seat models on the market, it’s easy to understand why installing and using car seats properly is complicated. That's why free car seat fitting stations, also known as car seat inspection stations or car seat checks, are available nationwide. When you go to a car seat check, a trained technician will work with you to teach you the best way to install and correctly use your child safety seat.

Free car seat fitting stations are held periodically in most areas. They are usually scheduled at convenient times and locations (such as car dealerships or store parking lots). If you can’t come to a car seat check, you may be able to contact a child passenger safety technician by telephone (and sometimes e-mail) with your questions.

We recommend you have the safety of your infant car seat checked for correct installation at an inspection station or a car seat check-up event.

Find a car seat fitting station nationally

To find a car seat fitting station or a certified child passenger safety seat (CPS) technician near you, please visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Safe Kids USA websites. This information is also available by calling the NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).

You can also call your local police or fire department's non-emergency numbers, your hospital, or your state highway department.

Find a car seat fitting station in the Greater Philadelphia area

Kohl's Injury Prevention Program at CHOP partners with the Safe Kids Southeastern Pennsylvania Coalition to teach parents how to properly install child safety seats, and offers car seat checks in the Philadelphia area. The Safe Kids Southeastern Pennsylvania Coalition, part of Safe Kids Worldwide, covers Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

What to bring to a car seat check

When going to a car seat check, remember to bring:

If you have several children that need to be restrained, please bring them with you along with their child safety seats. A technician can help guide you on the proper placement of each seat in the vehicle.

Changing seats as your child grows

You often first learn about safety seats when you prepare to bring your infant home from the hospital because they are frequently required for discharge. When your baby outgrows her rear-facing infant seat, she will need to switch to a convertible and/or forward-facing seat, and finally, to a belt-positioning booster. Read more about each phase of child safety seats in our Car Seat Safety by Age section.

Read both your vehicle owner’s manual and car seat instruction manual each time your child moves to a different type of seat. 

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Four Key Safety Tips

  • Restrain your child on every trip, every time.
  • Keep your child in the back seat.
  • Use the best safety restraint for your child's size.
  • Use child safety seats and seat belts correctly.

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