Child Safety Seats

Child Safety Seat Guidelines

Children under 2 years old must ride in a rear-facing car seat unless they weigh 40 lbs. or heavier, or are 40” or taller. California Child Passenger Safety Law states that children shorter than 4' 9" tall must ride in a booster seat because they are too small to fit safely in the seat belt without the booster.  

 Vehicle safety belts should fit as follows:

  •  Lap belt low (touching the thighs)
  •  Shoulder belt across the middle of chest and shoulder (not under the arm or the behind back)
  •  Knees bent comfortably without slouching  

If a seat belt does not fit your child as described above, you must have them ride in a booster!  To ensure your child is safe while riding in a motor vehicle, review this child passenger safety primer from

Not sure what kind of seat your child needs? Click the image below to use the nHTSA Car Seat Finder tool.

NHTSA Graphic Car Seat Safety

Child Safety Seat Fitting Services

At this time, Central Fire District does not have personnel certified in helping install or properly fit car seats.  For these services, you may contact the following agencies. We will update this list regularly, as more locations become available. 

  • AAA of Capitola, (831) 824-9128 - Program on hold 
  • AAA of Watsonville, (831) 768-4540 (se habla Español) - By Appointment
  • California Highway Patrol, (831) 219-0200 - By Appointment
  • Scotts Valley Fire Protection District, (831) 438-0211 - By Appointment
  • Watsonville Fire Department, (831) 768-3200 (se habla Español) - By Appointment

Santa Cruz County Child Passenger Safety Resources Flyer - English/Spanish (PDF)

SEATS for KIDS Program

Child safety seats are available on a limited basis for low-income families through Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency’s SEATS for KIDS Program, with funds from County Vehicle Code fine revenues, grants and private donations. Availability of car seats is limited, and on a first come/first serve basis.  A $15-$30 donation is requested.  For more information, call (831) 454-7551 or email their office.

NOTE: Due to instructor availability/training, Car Seat Inspections and seats through Health Services may not be available until October 2023.