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Child Passenger Safety

What is the Standardized Child Passenger Safety Training Program?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed the original National Standardized Child Passenger Safety Training Curriculum in the mid-1990s in response to a need for standardization and quality control in course content and instructors to ensure that information and materials being taught and disseminated are up to date, accurate and consistent.

What is the NHTSA Standardized Child Passenger Safety Training Program?

It is the first national training program to address the needs of CPS professionals. It combines the best features of many existing training programs with additional contributions from many of the nation's leading CPS professionals.

The four-day course is taught through a combination of lectures, discussions of new issues, role playing and hands-on practice with both child safety seats and vehicle belt systems. Students should be prepared for the substantial physical activity needed to install safety seats. They will take both written and hands-on tests, and participate in a "real world" CPS clinic or child safety seat checkpoint, where students must demonstrate proficiency communicating and demonstrating proper installations to the public. This combination of instruction and demonstration skills development and testing is unique to this course.

Why Do We Need Standardized Child Passenger Safety Training?

Every day children sustain serious injuries or die in motor vehicle crashes, and many of these injuries and deaths can be avoided with the correct use of safety seats and seat belts. However, many adults are unaware they are using the safety restraint incorrectly (or not at all), thereby placing their child at risk. In fact, child safety seat checkpoints routinely discover that eight out of ten children are not properly restrained in appropriate child safety seats or belt systems. Numerous compatibility problems between child safety seats and motor vehicles exist. We have an immediate need in this country for child passenger safety professionals who can explain these complicated issues in an understandable way and who can demonstrate safe and proper child passenger safety seat installation to the public.

Certification: How Do You Get It and Why?

Certification is available through the National Standardized Child Passenger Safety Training Program for a $60.00 fee for those who have successfully completed the four-day standardized training course and the required field experience. Certification is offered at two levels: Child Passenger Safety Technician and Technician Instructor. A technician can inspect and educate parents on the proper use of child safety seats, as well as conduct educational programs throughout their community. A Technician Instructor is able to teach the 32-hour standardized course, but certification at this level requires additional qualifications. The additional steps of certification and program information updates provide a level of quality control that validates the training and helps enhance the professionalism and reputation of the entire CPS field. Further certification information is available at and at

Which Level of Certification Is for You?

The most critical need right now is for CPS professionals to offer hands-on assistance to parents and caregivers through child safety seat clinics and checkpoints, prenatal and parenting classes, school demonstrations and daycare demonstrations, etc. If this is your primary area of expertise or you are most interested in interacting directly with the public, the level of Certified Technician would be appropriate. The course will expand your existing skills and increase your confidence, enabling you to better provide this valuable, lifesaving service to your community. The certification process will provide you with regular updates and document your active participation in the field.

If you desire to teach the standardized course to other technicians, you should consider the level of Certified Technician Instructor. The instruction, supervision and evaluation will help you hone your technical and teaching skills and help prepare you for instructional opportunities in your community.

What is the Cost?

The cost of certification is $75.00 per person, which includes periodic information and technology updates. Costs for the required four-day class are determined by the sponsoring organization. In some cases, course administration can be underwritten through a grant, which may reduce costs to individual students. How Are the Classes Offered? This course can be offered by any organization that uses Certified Technician Instructors, but the Automotive Safety Program, through Riley Hospital for Children is responsible for coordinating the classes throughout Indiana. For further information on this course, or other Child Passenger Safety issues, please call 1-800-KID-N-CAR.

Re-Certification requirements:

  • Five (5) seat checks approved by a certified instructor (may use technician proxy option). These may be done at any time during your certification cycle as long as they are entered online AND approved before your recertification date..
  • Community Education – pick one
    • Participate in at least one two-hour check up event with at least one other CPS Technician at which you serve families using any standardized checklist to provide documentation, if needed.
    • Provide at least four hours of community education. Examples include presenting to parents, educators, kids, organizations (PTAs, law enforcement). These are presentations to non-CPSTs.
    • A minimum of six hours of CPS technical continuing education (CEUs) must be obtained and reported during one’s current certification cycle (two years). There is no carry-over from one period to the next, even when more than the required CEUs have been accumulated. They may be entered at any time during your certification cycle. CEUs must fit into one of the five approved categories and meet content requirements.
    • Register and pay fee by the end of the certification expiration date.
    • In addition to the above requirements, instructors must also log 20 teaching hours of CPS course instruction. This has not changed. Details are available in the policies and procedures manual and on the certification Web site.
    • Re-certification is $50 for Technicians and $60 for Instructors.

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