Car Seat Installation

Did you know that more than half of all car seats are not installed correctly?

Capital Area Healthy Start offers individual car seat training appointments to help you buckle up safely each and every time! FREE Car seat installation appointments are offered every Tuesday & Thursday between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. To request an appointment, click the button below and fill out a Car Seat Appointment Request Form.

After requesting an appointment, a Certified Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) will reach out to you to schedule your appointment. If you have more than one child, please fill out the Car Seat Appointment Request Form for each child. For more information, contact Rebecca Kilpatrick at (850) 488-0288 ext. 111 or

The car seat installation experience is an interactive one. As the caregiver, you should be confident that your child’s seat is installed correctly AND that you are comfortable reinstalling and using it correctly. Be prepared to learn, not just watch the CPS Technician install the car seat. They’re trained to teach you, not install it for you.

During the check-up, a competent CPS Technician will:

  • Fill out a checklist form (including car seat type, location in the vehicle, misuse observations, if any, etc.).
  • Review car seat selection appropriate for your child’s age, and size, and review factors affecting proper use.
  • Review the Car Seat Instructions and the Vehicle Owner’s Manual with the caregiver and ensure that both are being followed correctly.
  • Ensure that an appropriate seating position in the vehicle is being used, especially when using LATCH.
  • Check the car seat for recalls, visible damage, and expiration date.
  • Check to see if you have installed the car seat(s) correctly using either the seat belt or LATCH system. You are encouraged to ask to learn how to install the seat with either options or in different seating positions.
  • Discuss the next steps for each child, such as when to move to the next type of car seat.
  • Discuss the benefits of everyone riding properly restrained, including all adults.
  • Discuss safety in and around the vehicle.
  • Discuss your state laws and best practice recommendations for occupant safety.

To ensure that you have the best experience you should prepare by:

  • If you are pregnant, schedule an appointment 1 to 2 months before Mom’s due date. Many CPS Technicians and their agencies require appointments several weeks in advance because some moms deliver early.
  • If your child is already born, know your child’s weight and height.
  • If your child is already born, bring your child with you. If possible, also bring another adult to help watch the child while you are learning.
  • Using the Child Car Seat Instructions, install the seat into your vehicle before your appointment, so our CPS technicians can identify what issues you may be facing.
  • Look up “Child Safety Seats” in your Vehicle Owner’s Manual. You will learn how a child’s car seat should be installed in YOUR car. The Car Seat Manual may not reference the requirements specific to your vehicle. If you do not have a car manual, you can find one online at Carfax (Hyperlink:
  • Bring the Car Seat Instructions AND the Vehicle Owner’s Manual with you to your appointment!

After the check-up, ensure you can say yes to ALL these questions:

  • Did you perform the installation?
  • Do you feel confident about installing and using the car seat correctly?
  • Were your questions answered? If not, were you given directions as to who you should contact, or will the CPS Technician follow up with you?

This one-on-one education typically takes 20-30 minutes, depending on the car seat and the vehicle. However, the CPS Technician should take all the time necessary to ensure that you feel competent and confident in re-securing the car seat into the vehicle and re-buckling your child into the car seat on your own.

Card your tech! Ask to see proof of his or her current certification.