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Safety Programs

Child Passenger Safety

Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Program In Cowlitz County, only 1 out of every 20 car seats that are checked by certified technicians is installed correctly.  That’s a 95% misuse rate! Our CPS team of professionals is dedicated to correcting the misuse in our county by educating families on the proper way to install car seats and choosing the appropriate car seat for you and your child.  Through hands-on instruction, we show the proper way to install and use car seats–that way, parents can have the confidence to do it themselves and know that their child is safe! We also ensure that the car seat works in your vehicle and your lifestyle. Check out our car seat FAQs below. We currently have 12 CPS technicians that are certified through the National Certification Program.  More are being trained all the time!  We do car seat checks by appointment, and a technician may also be available at your pediatric clinic.  There are also regular car seat clinics in our community.  See our Events Calendar for details. For a list of CPS technicians that are available by appointment, please click here.  For other CPS resources, please visit our resources page. To find out more about CPS and other vehicle-related safety topics, contact Brandi Ballinger by email or by phone at 360.575.6280.  

Car Seat Safety FAQs

Can I still use a car seat that’s been in a crash before?

If your seat has been involved in a collision–even just a “fender-bender”–it’s best to get it examined by a certified car seat technician.  Click here for a current list of technicians in Cowlitz County.  There are many ways that a seat can be deemed unsafe to use.

How do I get rid of a seat that’s ruined, too old, or otherwise not worthy of being re-used?

Unfortunately, car seats cannot be recycled like regular plastics can.  Therefore, they must be disposed of by way of regular garbage.  To ensure that someone doesn’t get a hold of a seat that shouldn’t be used again, follow these steps:

  • Cut all straps with a knife so that they cannot, in any way, be buckled together.  We recommend cutting each of the 5 points of the harness.
  • Remove all padding from the seat as much as possible.
  • If possible, place the strap and cushion pieces in a separate garbage bag from the seat itself.
  • Clearly mark on the plastic portion of the seat, in a couple different spots if possible, “TRASH–DESTROY–DO NOT USE”.  This will let garbage collection know that the seat was meant to be thrown away.
What do I do with a seat that my child doesn’t fit anymore?

If you are the original owner of the car seat, still have all the materials (straps, cushions, owner’s manual, etc.), and the seat has not expired–there will be a destroy date on the seat (generally, 5 years after the manufacture date)–please contact SAFE KIDS Lower Columbia to coordinate dropping off that seat for another family to use.  If you are NOT the original owner, please do not give the seat to Salvation Army, Goodwill, or sell it at a garage sale.  You don’t know the history of the seat, and it may be unsafe for someone else to use.  Likewise, you should not purchase seats from second-hand stores or garage sales.  If you cannot afford a new seat and need one, we can help.  Just contact us for more information!

Do you have a car-seat question that you’d like to have answered?  Click here to send a message to one of our Senior Technicians.  We’ll put your question on this page for other parents to use as a resource!