Child Passenger Safety

Need assistance obtaining a child safety seat?*

*Our limited inventory is reserved for families currently receiving public assistance.

Looking for one of the best and most comprehensive car seat resources? Check this out.

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Montana law requires children to be properly restrained in a safety or booster seat until age 6 or 60 pounds. However, best practices suggest that children should ride in safety seats or booster seats until age 8 or 80 pounds.

Studies have shown that car seats significantly lower the risk of serious injury in children. Children aged 4 to 8 who are properly restrained in belt-positioning booster seats were 45% less likely to be injured than children who were using the vehicle seat belt.

4 out of 5 child safety seats are used improperly.  If you are uncertain about whether or not your child's seat is installed correctly you can make an appointment with a local fitting station.

Virtual Car Seat Checkup are being offered online by AAA and Britax.

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If you love them enough to suck the snot out of their nose at 4 a.m.

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Get Car Seat Recall Notices

In addition to registering your car seat to receive recalls and safety notices from your car seat manufacturer, you can sign up to receive e-mail alerts from NHTSA about car seat and booster seat recalls to make sure your child remains safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you offer Free Car Seats?


The Missoula County Buckle Up Coalition has a limited number of car seats available to families who are receiving some form of public assistance. Please call the Missoula County Buckle Up Coordinator Steve Schmidt at (406)258-3880 You will need to provide the following:

  1. Care Taker's Name (i.e., Mom, Dad, Grandparent, etc.)
  2. Address
  3. Phone Number
  4. Email Address
  5. Height and Weight of Child
Once this information is obtained, a voucher for a free car seat, if we have inventory, will be completed and emailed to one of our three local fitting stations. You will then be given a phone number to the choosen car seat fitting station and you will need to call and set an appointment to receive their car seat. Upon arrival to the fitting station, expect the fitting appointment to last about an hour. The Certified Child Passenger Safety Technition will walk you through the entire install procecure with your new car seat. Under most circumstances, you will be physcially installing the seat under the direction of the technition. This provides you the ability to learn the entire process of how to properly install a child safety seat in your vehicle.




I need a car seat, but I just had the baby and I'm still in the hospital.  What do I do?


First, we would like to offer all the best of the best wishes to you and your newborn baby. Please feel free to call the Missoula Buckle Up Coordinator Steve Schmidt at (406)258-3880. He can help connect you with other local organizations who may be able to assit you with obtaining a car seat (if inventory is available) and getting it installed before your discharge.




Can I continue to use our car seat after a crash?


NHTSA recommends that car seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. Car seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash. What defines a minor crash? A minor crash is one in which ALL of the following apply:

  • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site.
  • The vehicle door nearest the car seat was not damaged.
  • None of the passengers in the vehicle sustained any injuries in the crash.
  • If the vehicle has air bags, the air bags did not deploy during the crash; and
  • There is no visible damage to the car seat.
NEVER use a car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. Always follow manufacturer's instructions.




Should I buy a used car seat?


A car seat is a vital piece of equipment that is designed to save your babies life. It's important to know the full histroy of the car seat. Here are a few things that you must know if your baby is going to use a used car seat:

  1. Was the car seat ever involved in a moderate to severe crash?
  2. Are all parts intact and in good working order?
  3. Does the seat have its instruction book?
  4. Can you find the seats lables stating the date of manufacture and it's model number?
  5. Is the seat recalled? Search for Child Seat Recalls here
  6. Is the seat expired?
Car seats also expire 6 years after their date of manufacture, unless otherwise noted on their lables. If you are ever indoubt, do not use the car seat. It's not worth the risk.




When do I know my child has out grown their car seat?


The National Hghway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has a website called "Find The Right Seat" with tons of informaiton. There is even a handy calculator for you to use.




I need help installing the car seat I just purchased. Who can help?


The Missoula area has several different options for you. Check our page on Child Passenger Fitting Stations in our area. This page will list the dates and times for scheduled fitting stations. Most of the fitting stations appreciate and encourage scheduled appointments. Please call ahead. The fitting station is there to help you learn how to properly install your car seat. Certified Child Passneger Safety Technicians are trained to help teach you all the ins and outs of your car seat. It often good to stop in for a refresher from time to time as statistics indicate that 3 out of 4 car seats are improperly installed. Occasionally, we will have special car seat check up events in Missoula County. Please check back often or watch our facevook page for event dates and times. Virtual Car Seat Checkup are being offered online by AAA and Britax . Also note that due to the COVID-19 the dates and times listed on the Fitting Station page may change without notice. Please feel free to call the Missoula Buckle Up Coordinator Steve Schmidt at (406)258-3880 if you have further questions.





Drive Safe Missoula

Missoula City-County Health Department

301 W. Alder

Missoula, MT  59802

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