The National Child Passenger Safety Certification is a certificate granted to people who have successfully passed the CPS Training Program which is a special course on child safety in cars. It certifies course attendees as child safety technicians and instructors who are authorized to teach and give advice to inexpert parents.
Since the program started in 1997, more than 143,000 people have been trained and there are over 39,000 certified technicians at present. Many technicians are healthcare professionals while others are parents and some are volunteers. The only requirement is an interest in protecting childrens safety.
These technicians perform child safety checks where parents and caregivers are given practical advice on the proper use of child restraint systems and safety belts. Their main task is to provide advice as well as identifying any anomalies in the fitting of systems, making sure they are suitable for the childs physical characteristics, checking the proper arrangement of harnesses, etc. Apart from the United States, certification courses have been held in Canada, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Instructors are responsible for checking child seats and their correct installation and informing and teaching parents about how to repeat the same process as many times as necessary. Some of the different actions that a certified technician might carry out include:
- Making a preliminary report, noting down the model of the child seat, its position in the car and any other information on inappropriate use that they might identify.
- Checking that the child seat is the correct one for the childs age, size and physical characteristics as well as any other factors that might affect its proper use.
- Checking the instructions for the child restraint system and the vehicle manual to ensure that both of them are being followed correctly; in other words, that there are no problems with using the CRS or any problems associated with the car, such as not being able to affix the seat properly or the installation not being completely stable.
- Checking the child's posture in the seat and the position of the seat in the car.
- Checking whether the seat in question has been called back for safety checks (due to manufacturing faults), if there is any visible damage or if the expiration date has been reached (and also reporting if the expiration date is coming up soon).
- Carrying out checks on whether the CSR is affixed by safety belts or another system (such as the LATCH system, which is equivalent to ISOFIX).
- They can also give parents advice on the ideal time to change the child seat and which model is best for each child, as well as providing general safety advice on the car and other matters.
As you can see, this is quite a comprehensive certificate whose main purpose is to improve childrens safety and educate their parents about road safety, which focuses on the importance of choosing a good seat and always affixing it perfectly, making regular safety checks and emphasizing the importance of the positioning and use of harnesses or seat belts, whichever is applicable.