Buckle Up Baby: Car Seat Safety Day

Free Car Seat Checks all over the Bay Area

Come to any of the following seven locations and meet with a certified car seat technician who will inspect your current installation and help you install your car seat properly.

AAA San Jose (No appointment necessary)
5340 Thornwood Dr., San Jose CA 95123
9 - 11 am

AAA Dublin (Appointments only, call 925-833-6686)
Waterford Plaza Shopping Center
4460 Tassajara Rd., Dublin CA 94568
9 - 11 am

AAA Hayward (No appointment necessary)
1580 Chabot Ct., Hayward CA 94545
10 am - Noon

AAA San Rafael (Limited appointments, call 415-464-4231 or drop-ins welcome)
99 Smith Ranch Rd., San Rafael CA 94903
10 am - Noon

AAA Concord (No appointment necessary)
2055 Meridian Park Blvd., Concord CA 94520
2 - 4 pm

AAA Napa (No appointment necessary)
800 Trancas St., Napa CA 94558
2 - 4 pm

AAA Daly City (No appointment necessary)
455 Hickey Blvd., 3rd Floor, Daly City CA 94015
3 - 5 pm

Get Advice from an Expert
Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children. More than 1,400 kids die and over 200,000 are hurt each year in car crashes. Four out of five car seats are installed incorrectly, so here's what you can do to protect your child.

Make an appointment with a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician at AAA to ensure your child's car seat is properly installed. AAA technicians are available to:

  • Instruct and demonstrate correct installation of your car seat

  • Ensure you are using the correct seat based on the age, weight and height of your child

  • Check to see if the car seat has been recalled
Make an Appointment
AAA offers no cost car seat inspections at more than 35 offices in Northern California, Nevada and Utah.
  • Locate your nearest AAA office inspection site and make an appointment in advance

  • Read the car seat manual and attempt to install the car seat before arriving

  • Bring the car seat installation instructions and your automobile owner's manual
AAA's Best Practices For Child Passenger Safety:
  1. Keep children rear-facing as long as possible, until at least the age of two. Today's convertible car seats can be used rear-facing between 30 – 45 pounds. (Always read and follow the car seat instructions.)

  2. Keep your child in a car seat with a 5-point harness as long as possible (between 50-80 pounds). (Always read and follow the car seat instructions.)

  3. Keep your older child in a belt positioning booster seat until they can properly fit an adult seat belt, which is about 4'9" or 8-12 years old. Children can safely use an adult seat belt when they pass the 5-Step test.

  4. All children ages 13 and younger ride in the back seat.


Selecting a Car Seat

Buckle up your child every trip, every time
The right car seat, fastened correctly, is the best way to prevent injury or even death in a crash. For all children under the age of 13, the back seat is always the safest place, preferably in the middle. Installation tips:

  • Car seats should not move more than one inch side-to-side at the belt path.

  • The harness must be snug and secure on your child. You should not be able to pinch any slack at the shoulder.

  • The retainer clip should be fastened and placed at armpit level.

  • Always follow the car seat manufacturer's instructions.
Rear-Facing, Infant-Only Seat
  • birth to at least one year AND

  • at least 20 pounds (as long as possible up to seat size limits)
Helpful Tips
  • Never put the car seat in front of an airbag.

  • The car seat should recline at a 45 degree angle to prevent your baby's head from falling forward.

  • Harness straps must be at or below shoulder level.

  • Always ride rear-facing.
Rear-Facing, Convertible Seat
  • at least one year of age AND

  • more than 20 pounds but less than 35 pounds (as long as possible up to seat size limits)
Helpful Tips
  • Never put in front of an airbag.

  • Harness straps at or below shoulder level.

  • Use the correct seat belt path when in the rear-facing position (usually there is a different belt path for forward-facing).

  • Convert to forward-facing when your child reaches the weight limit or their head gets within 1 inch of the top edge.
Forward-Facing Convertible Seats and Forward-Facing Only Seats
  • at least one year of age and up to 4 years old AND

  • 20-40 pounds (up to maximum seat size limits)
Helpful Tips
  • Harness straps should be at or above the shoulders.

  • Use the correct seat belt path for the forward-facing position of a convertible seat (usually there is a different belt path for rear-facing).

  • If your child is above 40 pounds but less than 4 years old, a high weight limit car seat (40-80 pounds) can be purchased.
Booster Seat (High-Back / No-Back)
  • 4 to 8 years old AND

  • over 40 pounds

  • under 4'9" tall
Helpful Tips
  • Must be used with a shoulder and lap belt

  • Never place the shoulder strap behind the back or under the arm. It should fit snugly across the shoulder and chest.

  • The lap belt should ride as low as possible across the hips
Vehicle Seat Belt
  • approximately 8 years old

  • at least 4'9" tall
Pass the 5-Step Test by answering "YES" to each question:
  1. Does your child sit all the way back against the auto seat?

  2. Do your child's knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?

  3. Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?

  4. Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?

  5. Can your child stay seated like this for the whole trip?

About Jenny Mack:
Jenny Mack is the Manager of Media Relations and spokesperson for AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, a travel and insurance organization representing over 4 million members and 6,000 employees. She also developed the company's award-winning "Greenlight Initiative," AAA's program dedicated to promoting awareness of alternative fuels and vehicle technologies. AAA's Greenlight Initiative been recognized by both the American Business Awards and PR News as a leader in corporate social responsibility programs in addition to receiving several Hermes Creative Awards. In recognition of her leadership with the Greenlight Initiative, Mack was selected as a technical advisor for the Institute for Local Government's California Climate Action Network.

Prior to joining AAA, Mack developed an extensive journalistic background in a variety of media. As a staff writer for ZDNet News, she reported for one of the top 10 most widely-read sites on the Internet. Mack also has several years experience as a television reporter. While working as a reporter for Tech TV, she was part of an award-winning news team reaching more than 26 million homes. She also spent time as a broadband content consultant for CNET Networks and as a news writer for KPIX, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco.

Mack earned a BS with Honors in Journalism from Boston University. She is also a certified tow truck driver.

About Cynthia Harris:
Cynthia Harris is a Media Relations Spokesperson for AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, specializing in Latino media and community outreach. She is fluent in Spanish, English and French.

As AAA's spokesperson, Cynthia promotes and represents AAA in Latino media and community and brings the AAA brand and services to the forefront of Spanish speaking communities within AAA territories. Harris is responsible for producing in-house videos and was awarded the Hermes Creative Award for producing the AAA Hybrid Training video. She has media trained various AAA employees and is responsible for the ethnic media outreach efforts of AAA.

As a member of the AAA Hispanic Advisory Committee, Cynthia has collaborated with distinguished Bay Area community Latino leaders to expand AAA's role and involvement to better service the Latino community through AAA business initiatives.

Prior to AAA, Cynthia worked as a journalist for KDTV Univision Spanish Language television network in San Francisco, California where she was the evening news co-anchor, producer, field reporter and weekly community affairs host/producer. Following KDTV, Harris joined the distinguished news team of Tele-Trece Chile, one of South America's largest television networks, as international news correspondent. Her international news coverage includes Mother Teresa's funeral in Calcutta, Albanian refugee camps bordering Kosovo, Chilean General Augusto Pinochet's extradition verdict in London, September 11th terrorist attacks in New York, coca leaf growers of Peru, among others. She has received the Northern California News Directors Award, Northern California Emmy Nomination and a Joey Award for outstanding news feature stories.

Cynthia Harris is an avid photographer and traveler.

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