Protect Your Children on the Road

Car Seats Save Lives

The Automobile Club of Southern California is committed to child passenger safety. As part of that commitment, we are dedicated to providing the necessary information, resources, and tools available to help keep our members and their families safe on the road. That’s why we now offer Child Passenger Safety Workshops, led by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

Car seats are one of the biggest factors that affect the safety of children inside a vehicle. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for children. Every day in the United States, 469 children are injured and three children die due to motor vehicle crashes. However, you can lower this risk for your child with proper installation and use of a car seat or booster seat. Correctly using a car seat can reduce the risk of injury or death by 71% for an infant and 54% for a toddler. Additionally, booster seats reduce the risk of injury or death by 45% for 4-8 year olds compared to using seat belts alone. (NHTSA 2013).


Children age 8 or older, or who are 4’9” or taller may use the vehicle seatbelt if it fits properly with the lap belt sitting low on the hips and touching the upper thighs with the shoulder belt crossing the center of the chest. If children are not tall enough for proper belt fit, they must ride in a booster or car seat.

Which car seat is right for my child’s height and weight?

  • Rear-Facing Only Car Seat: 4 lbs up to 35 lbs
  • Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seat: 5 lbs up to 40 lbs
  • Forward-Facing Convertible Car Seat: At least 1 year old; 20 lbs up to 80 lbs
  • Combination Booster Seat: 1-2 years old; 20-25 lbs up to 85 lbs with internal 5-point harness
  • High-Back Booster: At least 3 years old; 30 lbs up to 120 lbs
  • No-Back Booster: At least 3 years old; 30 lbs up to 120 lbs
Mother fastening child in car seat


It’s the law! California law requires that all children under age 8 be properly buckled into a car seat or booster in the back seat of a vehicle.

Are you aware that 4 out of 5 car seats are installed incorrectly?

Here are some tips to assist you with correct installation:

  • When choosing a car seat, pick a seat that fits the child and the vehicle, and one that you will use correctly every time
  • After purchasing a car seat, always turn in the recall notification form or check for possible current recalls of seats
  • Check the car seat labels to determine the minimum and maximum height and weight allowed, lower anchor instructions, and the expiration date of the seat
  • Read your car seat instructions and your vehicle owner’s manual prior to installing the seat; the car seat instructions will illustrate how to properly install the seat and the vehicle owner's manual will provide the proper location to install the seat and inform you whether the seat can be installed with lower anchors or a seat belt
  • Children should be rear-facing until at least two years old or until they have reached the upper height and weight limits of the car seat (American Academy of Pediatrics); Rear-facing provides the best protection for a child’s neck and spinal cord
  • Check that the car seat is secure (moves less than one inch side-to-side at the belt path)
  • When placing a child in the car seat, the harness clip should be at armpit level and the harness should have a snug fit; you should not be able to pinch the fabric above the harness clip
  • Have a Child Passenger Safety Technician check your installation at a local car seat inspection station or event

Join a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician at one of the Auto Club’s Child Passenger Safety Workshops to learn more about California child passenger safety laws, proper seat installation, and resources on how to keep children safe while in the vehicle.