Child Passenger Safety Seats (Car Seats)
Child Passenger Safety Seat Awareness
Non-use and mis-use of child passenger safety seats (car seats) are on the rise nationwide. In the year 2021, 31% of child occupant deaths were unrestrained. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 46% of child safety seats are improperly installed. NTSHA estimates that child safety seats reduce the risk of fatal injury for 71% of infants and 54% of toddlers nationwide. Not only is it safer for your child to be using a properly installed child safety seat, it is also the law.
Common child passenger safety seats errors:
- The wrong type of child safety restraint
- Safety harness too loose or not attached
- Child safety seat not properly installed in vehicle
- Child safety seat facing in wrong direction
- Complete nonuse of a safety restraint
Am I using the right seat?
- A rear-facing infant carrier or a rear-facing convertible seat should be used from birth until your child reaches the seat’s upper weight or height limit.
- Can be used up to 40 pounds or longer depending on the manufacturer.
- Rear-facing harness straps should be positioned at or below your child’s shoulders.
- Rear-facing seats should be installed at the angle determined by the car seat manufacturer.
- A forward-facing convertible seat or a forward-facing-only seat with a five-point harness should be used until a child reaches the seat’s upper weight or height limit.
- Can be used up to 50 to 90 pounds, depending on the manufacturer.
- Make sure to connect your car seat’s top tether strap when installing your forward-facing seat.
- Use a booster seat when your child exceeds the weight or height limit of their forward-facing harness seat.
- You must use a high-back booster seat if your vehicle has low seatbacks and no headrest for your child.
- Minimum weight limits for booster seats vary depending on the manufacturer and the booster seat type (high-back or low-back).
- This type of seat must be used with a vehicle lap and shoulder belt system.
Your child should pass the Belt Fit Test prior to discontinuing use of a booster seat:
- Your child should be able to sit with his or her back flat against the vehicle seat.
- Your child’s knees should bend over the vehicle seat edge.
- Your child’s feet should touch the floor.
- The lap portion of the vehicle seat belt should cross your child’s upper thigh area and the shoulder belt portion of the vehicle seat belt should cross your child’s collarbone area.
ALL children under age 13 should ride in the back seat!
Unsure? Good news - the Ankeny Police Department is here to help!
The Ankeny Police Department has certified child passenger seat technicians (CPST) on staff to assist the public with car seat installation. The Ankeny CPSTs are here to educate expecting parents, current parents, grandparents and caregivers. The technicians are not here to install your child safety seat for you, rather they will educate you on the proper installation, answer car seat questions, and to be a resource to the community for child passenger safety seat awareness. CPSTs will work with you to assure you are knowledgeable about the installation and you will leave with the seat properly installed. We currently have two ways to assist parents and grandparents with child safety seats.
Child Seat Safety Check Appointments
You may schedule an appointment by calling 515-346-6281 or emailing CPST Granger. Please leave your name, phone number, the type of car you are driving and the car seat you have purchased in the message. The CPST will return your message to set up an appointment. Please note, CPSTs are not always on duty, so be sure you have two or three appointment dates available. Depending on your child safety seat and your vehicle, your appointment could take up to 30 minutes. When you attend your appointment, be sure to have the car seat, the owner’s manual to the car seat, the owner’s manual for your vehicle, and the child if possible.
Child Safety Seat Check Events
The Ankeny Police Department will regularly schedule larger child seat check events, where several CPSTs from around the state of Iowa will be in one location. Please allow time, CPSTs will assist the public on a first come, first serve basis. Please have your car seat, car seat owner's manual, the owner’s manual to your car, and the child if possible with you at the event.
Can't make it to an event or can't wait until the next event?
Schedule an appointment with a certified child passenger seat technician Sunday - Thursday:
- Call 515-346-6281
Please let us know the type of car seat and what kind of vehicle you have when scheduling the appointment.
- What is the best car seat for my child?
There are several types of child safety seats and what works best for your child really depends on a few factors:
- Your child
- the seat you choose
- and the vehicle you operate
This guide from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association is a good place to start.
- Where in my vehicle should I place a car seat?
The safest place for your child to be seated is in the back seat of your vehicle. Consult your vehicle’ manual and the manual of your car seat for more information. When in doubt, sign up to see a certified car seat technician to aid you in your installation.
- Can my child sit in front of a forward facing airbag?
Airbags have been designed to help protect adults in front-end collisions, but not children. It's very important that all children ages 12 and under or less than 5 feet tall be properly restrained in the back seat. If a child must ride in the front seat of the car, the front airbag must be turned off. (See your vehicle owner’s manual)
- the child must be properly restrained, in a restraint system that is correct for the size of the child: a front-facing car seat, a booster seat, or a lap / shoulder belt.
- Never put a rear-facing infant in the front passenger seat of a vehicle with an active passenger-side airbag.
- I received a used car seat from a relative or friend, can I use it?
Used child safety seats can be used if properly checked for defects or damage. You must check the following:
- Has the seat been in a crash? Does it have any damage? If so it cannot be used.
- Is it a real car seat? (Yes, there are fakes out there.) Be sure it has all parts, an owner’s manual, proper stickers and identification.
- Has there been a recall for the car seat? You will need the model number and date of manufacture for this. You can find recall information by calling the NHTSA Auto Safety Hotline at 800-424-9393.
- What is the age of the car seat? All child safety seats have an expiration date. Locate the date and check the seat.
When in doubt, sign up to see a certified cars seat technician to aid you in your installation.
- Should I bring my child to child safety seat event or an appointment?
Yes, part of installation of a child car safety seat is making sure it properly fits the child as well. Unless you are an expecting parent getting prepared before baby comes, please do bring your child to the check event or appointment.
- Where can I find more information about car seats?
The best source of information about your car seat and your vehicle are the owner’s manual for both. Installation of child safety seats is a priority, therefore you will find important information in both manuals. You may also visit the following sites: