Information - Child Safety Seat Program


Child car seat safety is a number one concern amongst parents and law enforcement officials everywhere.

If your child is not properly restrained in the vehicle, the chances of him/her sustaining possible life-threatening injuries from an accident are greater than if the child is restrained.

The Thurston County Sheriff's Office, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offer tips, training, and car seat safety clinics designed to inform parents and guardians of the proper ways to safely restrain children of all ages and weights, in the vehicle.

There are three stages to proper car seat use. They are:

  1. Rear Facing Infant or Rear Facing Convertible Seat

    Under age one: Always face the baby to the rear of the vehicle. Small, infant-only car seats always face the rear. Convertible car seats face the rear for children up to 22 - 35 pounds.

    Over age one: Can continue rear-facing if the child is under the maximum weight limit of your child car seat.

  2. Forward Facing Seat with Harness

    A child uses a forward facing car seat with s shoulder harness up to 40 pounds; this may be a convertible car seat, a forward facing car seat, or a built-in seat.

  3. Booster Seat with Lap/Shoulder Belts

    Safety belts do not fit children correctly until approximately age 8. Under the current law children must be in a belt positioning booster until they reach age 8 or they are four feet nine inches tall. Use a belt-positioning if the vehicle has lap/shoulder belts in the back seat.

    For those who have newer vehicles with air bags, it is highly recommended that a child aged 12 and under, remain in the back seat. The powerful force of an air bag (approx 200 miles per hour), is very dangerous when sitting close to it.

For more information about child safety seats and safety clinics, contact Deputy Tom Tinsley of the Thurston County Sheriff's Office at 786-5525 ext 6237.