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Child Passenger Safety

Child Passenger SafetyMotor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death due to unintentional injury in school-aged children in San Diego County. The Center for Healthier Communities and Safe Kids San Diego want to keep all passengers in a vehicle safe, on every trip.

Under current California law:

  • Children under 2 years old must be rear facing in a car seat unless they weigh 40 pounds or more or are 40 inches tall or more. Effective January 1, 2017.
  • ​Children under the age 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat.
  • Children who are 8 years of age OR have reached 4’9” in height may be secured by a booster seat, but at a minimum must be secured by a safety belt. (California Vehicle Code Section 27363.)
  • Passengers who are 16 years of age and over are subject to California’s Mandatory Seat Belt law.

Learn more about the California Car Seat Laws.

Child Passenger Safety Task Force

The Safe Kids San Diego Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Task Force provides advocacy, is involved in training and education, and participates in various educational programs and community events. Safe Kids San Diego has been active in successfully advocating for legislation to increase the use of child restraints for children.

Current advocacy efforts are as follows:

Child Passenger Safety Training and Continuing Education: The task force is active in training new child passenger safety technicians and has hosted a child passenger safety training annually. It has also provided advanced training for certified technicians on assisting children with special needs. In 2012, the task force sponsored a CPS Reunion for Southern California, providing a day of continuing education and networking.

Educational Programs and Events: The task force has participated in various community events, including the Touch a Truck event, Global Road Safety Day. Safe Kids Worldwide also has a partnership with General Motors and the Boy Scouts of America and hosts Cub Scouts Safety Patch Days. At these events, scouting groups participate in six stations to learn more about safety in and around vehicles. Activities include:

  • Spot the Tot: Preventing back-overs from vehicles
  • Prevention of trunk entrapment
  • Learning how to use the Onstar system in emergencies
  • Booster seat and seat belt education
  • Prevention of hyperthermia, never leaving a child or pet in a car unattended

In addition, the task force has partnered with the AAA of Southern California in offering “Dare to Prepare,” a class for children and parents to learn how to be safer passengers.


The task force also provides the following educational presentations:

Child Passenger Safety
This 45-minute presentation will provide an overview of child passenger safety from birth through the pre-teen years. Material will cover legal aspects of child passenger safety and the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatricians. Statistics on improper and underutilization of proper child safety seats will be described. Resources for obtaining low-cost car seats and car seat inspections stations will be included.

Duration: 45 minutes
Audience: Parents and caregivers of children from birth to 13 years of age

Boost ’Em Up to Grow Up
This 15-minute, interactive session will describe the need for children to remain in a child restraint system or booster seat until they are 8 years old or reach 4 feet 9 inches tall. The new law will be discussed, and best practices by the American Academy of Pediatrics will be emphasized. The “5-Step Safety Belt Test” will be described, and each child will be measured and take the safety belt and booster seat test to ensure they are riding in the safest seat possible. Participants must bring their vehicle, child and booster seat to this event.

Duration: 15  minutes
Audience: Children ages 4-10 and their parents and caregivers

To join this task force or request a presentation, contact Safe Kids Coordinator Lorrie Lynn at