Image of  the 4 types of car seat available for kids

Child Passenger Safety

When it comes to selecting the right car seat for your child, one size does not fit all. There are three types of car seats–Rear-facing, forward-facing, booster–and the standard seat belt, with each best suited to protect a child based on their age and size.

California’s Occupant Protection Law

California law requires all children under two years old, weighing less than 40 pounds and less than 40 inches tall to ride in a rear-facing car seat.

Children under the age of 8 are required to be secured in a car or booster seat. Children who are 8 years old or at least 4’9” may be secured by a booster seat, but at minimum must be wearing a seat belt.

Choosing A Car Seat

Keep your child in rear and forward-facing seats as long as possible. Do not rush to move a child into a booster seat before they are ready. Booster seats are recommended until a child reaches a height of 4’9”.

All children 12 and under should ride in the back seat.

To learn more about finding and using the correct car seat, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

Find a Car Seat Check Location

Every local California Highway Patrol (CHP) office does child safety seat checks. Contact your local office for dates, locations and details about car seats, including safety seat check events by going to and clicking on the “Find an Office” tab.