Have you had your car seat checked?
As much as the technicians at CSFTL.org help people online every day, it is always a good idea to have an in-person carseat check done on your car seats. Nothing can replace working with a CPST and learning hands-on how to use your own seats in your own car properly.
How do you find a CPST in your area?
CSFTL has assembled a list of technicians from the USA and Canada. You can search for a CPST in your area and also find those that may be special needs trained, bilingual, etc.
Search the Safe Kids Database (note: less information yields more results. Always leave “name” blank unless you are looking for a specific technician)
Visit NHTSA Parents Central: Inspection Station Locator
If you are looking for a Canadian technician, you can also search the Canadian Car Seat Network
When you are looking for a technician, you may see different types of checks available.
Inspection/Fitting Stations: The name is actually confusing. These are more like education and instruction stations. It is a permanent location with a set schedule for conducting car seat checks. Some stations require appointments.
Events: These are scheduled in advance, often advertised, and staffed usually with volunteer technicians. They are not regularly scheduled, but may happen several times a year (for instance, four times a year at a local hospital or store, but not always the same four times a year).
Private Businesses: Some CPSTs have their own business. They often come to your home so you do not even have to leave your house to have your seats checked. There is usually a charge for this type of service.
Independent CPSTs: You will also find some technicians that will meet you at a public location to do a seat check. Often they do not even charge (gratuities are always appreciated though).
What can you expect during a check?
At an inspection/fitting station or event, where there are many parents one right after another you can expect to learn about your seat and be shown how to install it properly. Leave about a half hour for the check.
With a private business or independent technician, you may also learn multiple ways to install a seat, discussions about your pets, projectiles, general car safety, how to travel with your seat, and other more one on one discussions. In general for techs who visit people at their homes, a check may take an hour or more.
For more information, please read: What to Expect at a Seat Check and What to Expect from a Child Passenger Safety Technician.