Nicole Capozello is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). She works on the Mother Baby unit at Beaumont Hospital, Troy providing car seat safety education for parents in their rooms before they take their new babies home. She was a Beaumont Parenting Program volunteer before piloting this car seat safety program.
What education/training is needed to be a CPST?
In order to become a CPST, a person needs to take an intensive 4-day training course and pass both written and practical exams. The class ensures that the technician is familiar with all types of car seats and vehicle restraint systems, as well as the best practices for the use of child passenger restraint systems for children of different ages and sizes. In order to maintain their certification, CPSTs need to participate in community events providing car seat installation assistance and information, complete a required number of continuing education hours, and pass proficiency evaluations with respect to five different kinds of car seats. I tell people regularly that it takes more time and effort to keep my CPST certification than it takes me to maintain my law license!
What advice do you give to new parents when shopping for a car seat?
The best advice I can give to parents shopping for a new car seat is try the seat in your car before you buy it. Baby stores like Babies R Us will allow parents to test out their floor model seats in their cars before buying them. This allows parents to ensure that the seat fits in their vehicle and is easy to use and install before they buy it.
What advice surprises parents the most? What is the most common mistake people make when installing a car seat? Keep reading: