New Car Seat Recommendations

New Car Seat Recommendations

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 through 14 year old, killing over 1,000 children each year. Protect against this tragedy by properly securing your child in the vehicle. California law requires everyone to be properly secured when riding in a motor vehicle.
  • Effective January 1, 2017, children under 2 years old must be rear-facing in a car seat unless they weigh 40 pounds or more, or are at least 40 inches tall.
  • Children under age 8 must be properly buckled into a car seat or booster in the back seat.
  • Children under the age of 2 are required to ride in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Rear-facing is 5 times safer than forward facing.
  • Children age 8 or older, or who are 4'9" or taller, may use the vehicle seat belt if it fits properly with the lap belt low on the hips, touching the upper thigh, and 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.
  • Everyone in the car must be properly buckled up. For each child under 16 who is not properly secured, parents (if in the car) or drivers can be fined more than $500 and get a point on their driving records.
View car seat recommendations chart
AAP Updates Recommendations on Car Seats for Children


Merced County Department of Public Health
260 E. 15th Street
Merced, CA 95341
For more information about the Child Passenger Safety Seat Program call (209) 381-1136.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should I use a child safety seat?
Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death and serious injury among children under the age of 6 in Merced County. Child safety seats protect children during a vehicle collision.

2. Does the Health Department offer child passenger safety classes?
Yes, we offer monthly child passenger safety classes, one class in English and one class in Spanish each month. Pre-registration is required to attend these classes. To call for more information or to make a reservation please call (209) 381-1136.

3. Does the Health Department offer classes in other languages?
Yes, there is a monthly Spanish class.

4. What number can I call if I have questions about my child’s car seat?
Call the Merced County Department Public Health Car Seat Line: (209) 381-1136.

5. Why is it important that I know how to properly use my child safety seat?
When child safety seats are properly installed – children’s lives are saved. Ninety-eight percent of car seats are not installed correctly. Fatal injuries to infants and toddlers are reduced by 71% and 54% respectively, when the correct safety restraint is used properly in passenger car crashes.

6. Why should I talk to a certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technician about my child safety seat?
CPS Technicians have passed a rigorous training curriculum designed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and are certified by Safe Kids Worldwide in collaboration with the National Child Passenger Safety Board (NCPSB) to check and install any child safety seat. CPS Technicians receive up-to-date information on recalled car seats, new laws and are experts on child safety seats.