Getting your car seat checked at a fire station is something we’ve always been told to do. Throughout your pregnancy and maybe even through your child’s early weeks, you probably heard from the pediatrician, the postpartum nurses, or your mom friends that you could roll up to a fire station and ensure your seat is properly installed. We’re here to tell you, moms, this is a myth! We’ve got the truth about car seat checks below:
Do Fire Stations Install Car Seats
Firefighters, nurses, doctors, and police officers do not automatically go through any training that qualifies them to install or check car seats. Yes, some of them may have gotten this certification on their own. But their status as a first responder or medical professional does not mean they are qualified to work with your car seat.
However, it is true that you should get your car seat inspected. Even if you follow the manual and install the car seat, there are still lots of things that could be incorrect. So, getting the car seat checked for proper install is the easiest way to achieve peace of mind and true motor vehicle safety. Here’s how to do it:
Who Can Install Car Seats
Car Seat Safety Technicians
Car Seat Safety Technicians (AKA Child Passenger Safety Technicians) hold a special certification to perform car seat inspections. They complete over 40 hours of training through the Safe Kids Coalition to ensure they know the ins and outs of all things car seats.
These CPSTs can ensure your car seat is installed correctly and confirm the seat is right for your child. If your child should be in a rear facing car seat or if you put your kiddo in a booster seat too early, they’ll let you know! They know more than just about the installation process. They also know about height and weight limits, buckling technique, and vehicle challenges. And it’s important to note here that CPSTs shouldn’t just install your seat for you. They should be teaching and empowering you to do it yourself!
To sum up, CPSTs are the only ones qualified to do car seat checks. It’s true that first responders might have this additional training. But it is not standard in fire fighter, police officer, or medical training. So, don’t assume these individuals have CPST certifications.
Appointments, Consultations, and Events
So, if you can’t go to a fire department, where do you go? There are a few options! You can use this portal to search for a CPST in your area. Then, you can take their contact info and set up an appointment. You can also book one of our virtual consultations for a super personalized and versatile car seat check option!
Cities also host car seat checks at pediatricians offices and hospitals. Keep an eye out for those events, but don’t wait for one. If baby is on the way, get your consultation scheduled to make sure your baby is safe in the seat starting with their first ride home!
Car Seat Courses
Though a CPST can provide you one-on-one car seat help, it doesn’t diminish your responsibility. At some point, you may need to move your child’s seat from one car to another or you’ll need to install a new car seat after they’ve outgrown the other.
So, it’s important that you educate yourself using a car seat course! These will give you all the tips and tricks you need to keep your child safe in their seat. We’ve also got car seat buying kits that’ll help you make the right car seat choice based on your lifestyle, your budget, your child’s age, and your child’s size!
In this sample lesson from our Infant Course you will learn the different types of installation methods for your infant car seat. Whether you are starting your journey on Team Base or Team No-base, in this lesson you’ll learn about all the possible infant car seat installation methods and how to connect your car seat to a vehicle. Want to learn how to keep your child safe on every ride? Check out our Infant Course on the how-tos of installation, harnessing and troubleshooting.
Lastly, to ensure your seat is installed properly, you need to read what the car seat manufacturer and vehicle manufacturer say about child restraint system use. Reading the car seat instruction manual and the vehicle owner manual will give you all the basic information you need to get the right fit and a safe ride. Just to reiterate, read BOTH the car seat and vehicle manual. Both include information specific to the vehicle/seat combo.
To get the proper safety checks, you need to take your car seat to a car seat safety technician – not a fire station.
There you have it, friends. Checking your car seat at a fire station is a total myth! Even the nurse making sure you’re safe to leave the hospital isn’t qualified to do car seat checks. Make sure you only ask people to confirm your car seat is being safely used if they have the CPST certification. They are the ones with the proper expertise to install your seat!
For more safety information like this, check out our blog, Insta, and YouTube. We answer all your car seat related questions. And we strive to be your reliable, well-researched source for the best car seat information. Because with your child’s safety, there is not “close enough.” Your seat must be perfectly installed and used to keep your child safe in their seat! Let’s keep kids safe!