The National Child Passenger Safety Certification Training Program (CPS certification program) certifies people as child passenger safety technicians and instructors. Since the CPS certification program began in 1997, with the first courses offered in 1998, more than 180,000 people have successfully completed the CPS Certification Course, including more than 43,000 currently certified CPS technicians. Many technicians are trained health and safety professionals, others are parents, and some are volunteers. They all have one thing in common: they care deeply about kids and want to make sure they're safe. CPS technicians and instructors put their knowledge to work by conducting child safety seat checks, where parents and caregivers receive hands-on assistance for proper use of child restraint systems and safety belts. These dedicated technicians offer education, support and guidance in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The U.S. CPS certification program is widely considered to be the gold standard across the globe. Recent Certification courses have been offered in Canada, China, Israel, Mexico, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
What is a Child Passenger Safety Technician?
Child Passenger Safety Technicians are car seat experts who have taken a 40-hour class with curriculum written by NHTSA in collaboration with National CPS Board and Safe Kids Worldwide. During the class they learn the ins and outs of car seats, installation options, vehicle differences, harnessing procedures and more. They practice hands-on exercises where an instructor checks to make sure they understand what they are doing and why.
To remain a technician, one must take continuing education courses, learn about new seats available on the market, show that we are actively involved in training parents and have some of our car seat installations checked by an instructor every two years.
What is LATCH?
The LATCH system, required on all car seats and most vehicles manufactured in the U.S. after Sept. 1, 2002, was developed to make it easier to correctly install car seats without seat belts. The car seats have lower attachments which fasten into anchors in the backseat of the vehicle where the cushions meet. An upper strap or tether on the car seat attaches to an upper attachment point in the vehicle.
Child Passenger Safety 101: The Basics
From birth to at least one year old and at least 20 pounds, children should be secured in the back seat in a rear-facing infant seat.
Children between the ages of one to about age four and 20-40 pounds should be secured in the back seat in a forward-facing toddler seat.
Kids between the ages of four and eight or 40-80 pounds — unless 4'9" — should be properly restrained in the back seat in belt-positioning booster seats.
There are two types of booster seats — a high-back booster and a low-back booster.
A high-back booster seat uses the vehicle's lap/shoulder belt and provides head and neck support for the child if the car does not have a built-in head restraint.
A low-back booster seat is for use in vehicles that have a built-in head restraint. This type of booster seat is also used with the lap/shoulder belt to properly secure the child.
The child seat manufacturer certifies that all child safety seats sold meet federal safety performance standards.
Statistics on Child Passenger Safety (CPS)
It's a Fact:
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for the age group 2 to 14 years old (based on 2004 figures, which are the latest mortality data currently available from the National Center for Health Statistics)
- Every day in the United States, an average of 5 children age 14 and younger were killed and 568 were injured in motor vehicle crashes during 2006
- Research has shown that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat occupants (age 5 and older) of passenger cars by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent.
- During 2006, 6,983 passenger vehicle occupants age 14 and younger were involved in fatal crashes. For those children where restraint was known, 25 percent were unrestrained; among those who were fatally injured, 45 percent were unrestrained.
- Research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants (less than 1 year old) and by 54 percent for toddlers (1-4 years old) in passenger cars.
- Booster seats are designed to raise children up so that the safety belt fits correctly – the shoulder belt should cross the child's chest and rest snugly on the shoulder, and the lap belt should rest low across the pelvis or hip area.
- Among children under age 5, an estimated 425 lives were saved in 2006 by child restraint use.
Source: National Center for Statistics and Analysis
To schedule a car seat check with one of our CPS technicians, please contact Sergeant Marc Pharr at 770-513-8657 ext.211 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ultimate Car Seat Guide (safekids.org)