Child Passenger Safety

Learn more about safety laws and our Child Passenger Program.

Child Passenger Safety

Learn more about safety laws and our Child Passenger Program.
Overview of child passenger safety
Our Child Passenger Program educates parents and caregivers on the importance of children being transported safely as passengers.
Child restraint systems can prevent injuries and death.

Car crashes are one of the leading causes of injuries and deaths in children between the ages of one and 12.

 

Education and the use of the proper child restraint systems can reduce the risk of injuries and death.

What are Connecticut’s Child Passenger Safety Laws?
  • Children under two years old or weighing less than 30 pounds must ride in rear facing car seat.
  • Children two to five years old or weighing less than 40 pounds must use a child restraint that has a five-point harness.
  • Children five to eight years old or weighing between 40-60 pounds must use a booster seat or a five-point harness.
  • Children eight years or older and weighing 60 pounds or more can use a safety belt or a booster seat.

Operators who violate the law (first or second violation) are required to complete a Child Passenger Safety Class.  

chevron-down
  • Which Seat is Best for My Child?
  • How to Install a Seat
  • Important information

Which Seat is Best for My Child?

To follow the best practices on selecting a seat for your child, you must find the correct seat for your child’s age, weight, height, and development levels.

  • Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat until they reach the maximum weight or maximum height allowed by the car seat.  
  • Children who have outgrown the rear-facing seat, should use a forward-facing seat with a harness if possible, following the car seat manufacturer’s guidelines for height and weight.
  • Children who have outgrown the forward-facing seat, should use a booster seat until the lap and shoulder parts of the seat belt fit correctly. Lap belt must lie across the upper thigh, not stomach. The shoulder belt must lie across shoulder and chest, not neck.
  • Children under 13 years old should be restrained in the rear seats of the vehicle.

How to Install a Seat

Each car seat is different; refer to the car seat manual and the vehicle owner’s manual for more information on installation instructions.

There are two systems that may be used to secure the child safety seats:

  • Seat belt system
    • When installing with a seat belt, be sure to check your seat belt locking method.  Put the seat belt through the correct belt path for the direction your seat is facing. The seat belt must be straight. Make sure there are no twists in the seat belt. Buckle the belt.
    • Check the angle indicator.
    • Lock the seat belt either by locking the seat belt mechanism or the lock off on the car seat. 
    • Tighten the seat belt by removing excess webbing while applying pressure to the car seat until the seat moves less than one inch when pulling with your non-dominant hand at the belt path.
  • LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children)
    • LATCH and seating positions are defined in the car’s manual. The tether connector holds the back of the car seat and may be used with a lower anchor or seat belt (refer to car seat manual for details). Lower anchors can be hidden or covered. The LATCH symbol may help find the anchor.
    • Make sure the tethers are flat and there are no twists in the installation
      Check the angle indicator.
    • Tighten the tethers while applying pressure to the car seat until the seat moves less than one inch when pulling with your non-dominant hand at the belt path.

PLEASE NOTE:
When properly installed, both methods of installation are safe. The car seat is tested each way but not together. Never install a car seat using a seat belt and LATCH at the same time.

If you need more assistance on installing your car seat, make an appointment at your local fitting stations.

Important information

  • Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual to learn where to position your child safety seat and how to install it.
  • Using the registration form you received at the time of purchase, register the child safety seat.  To receive safety alerts or recall information, register your child safety seat.
  • Child safety seats usually have a 6–8-year life cycle. Be sure to check the expiration date on your seat.  It’s not recommended to pass seats down after your child outgrow them.
  • Never install a child safety seat in the front passenger seat of any vehicle.
  • Never use a car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. Most car insurances will cover for a car seat replacement.
chevron-down
  • In-Person Class
  • Online Class

In-Person Class

Child Passenger Safety classes are held at the Naugatuck Valley Community College (Waterbury Campus) and Manchester Community College.

The duration of each class is approximately two hours. Please plan accordingly and arrive on time. Doors will close at start time.

To register for an in-person child passenger safety class, please click on links below to enroll. You will be directed to our online registration system.

Please don’t register for this class unless this is a requirement mandated by the Superior Court, or the DMV.

Upcoming Classes:
 
Tuesday, December 6, 2022
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Naugatuck Valley Community College (Waterbury Campus) – Ekstrom Hall – Room E633
Register here 

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Manchester Community College – Village Building 5 – Room V151
Register here

Thursday, December 8, 2022 
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Naugatuck Valley Community College (Waterbury Campus) – Ekstrom Hall – Room E633
Register here

Saturday, December 17, 2022 
8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Manchester Community College – Village Building 5 – Room V151
Register here

Map/Directions to Locations:

If you cannot attend a registered class, please email dmv.childsafety@ct.gov with your name, date of birth, and date of class that you are cancelling. This will allow us to open the spot for someone else. You can enroll in a new class time.

If you failed to complete the class prior to the suspension date, your driving privilege will be suspended for sixty days.  To reinstate your driving privilege, you will need to complete the Child Passenger Safety Class and pay a restoration fee of $175. The restoration fee may be paid online.

Helpful Links

Online Class

Please do not register for this class unless this is a requirement mandated by the Superior Court, or the DMV.

To complete the online Child Passenger Safety Class:

Step 1: Go to portal.ct.gov/DMV/CPSC. Enter your information to receive a link in your email to the class. Click on the link in the email from DMV Child Safety.

Step 2: You will need to click on “Sign Up” and create an account. Enter the Referral Code: CTDMV

Step 3: Launch the “Car Seat Basics” course. You must complete the course and pass the quiz with at least an 80% to count as completion. You have three tries to pass the quiz. If you do not pass in the three tries, email us to reset your tries.

Step 4. If you do not complete the training at the time of initial registration, you can continue your child safety class by logging into carseateducation.org.

If you have any questions or need assistance, email DMV.ChildSafety@ct.gov.

If you failed to complete the class prior to the suspension date, your driver's license or driving privilege will be suspended for sixty days.  To be reinstated, you will need to complete the class and pay a restoration fee of $175. If required, the restoration fee may be paid online.

Helpful Links

chevron-down
  • Children in Hot Cars

Children in Hot Cars

There has been an uprise in injury and/or death to children left behind in vehicles. Since 1998, over 700 children have died in vehicles from heat stroke in the USA.

The “Forgotten Baby Syndrome” refers to when parents or caregivers accidentally leave a baby or small child in a locked vehicle.

Click here download a brochure for more information on children in hot cars.

English | Spanish

chevron-down
  • Fitting Stations
  • Special Needs
  • Online Resources

Fitting Stations

Fitting Stations are locations that offer free child safety seat checks and education. Please contact the fire or police station in the town that you reside. Note: some locations are appointments only.

Special Needs

If your child has special health care needs, a conventional car seat may not work for your child. You may need an adaptive or specialized seat. For more details, please contact Cathi Kellett, MA - Special Programs Coordinator from Griffin Hospital's Safe Kids Greater Naugatuck Valley Coalition at 203-732-1337.

Online Resources

  • www.SafeKids.org (Videos and extensive information on child passenger safety)
  • www.nhtsa.gov (Sign up for automatic recalls and extensive information on passenger safety)