Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Florida Occupant Protection Resource Center.

You may also download a .pdf file of Navigating the OPRC Website.

Promotional and Literature Items

Who funds the OPRC?
What resources are available from the OPRC?
Who can order these resources?
How do I order resources?
I am a CPS Instructor (or Technician). How do I order the CPS-specific resources?
When logging in, the system does not recognize my email, saying it is an "invalid user ID." What might be the problem?
When logging in, the system does not recognize my password. What might be the problem?
Is there a cost for these resources?
How long does it take to get items once they are ordered?
What ages do the resources target?

Car Seat Specific Questions

Who can order car seats?
I am a CPS-certified Instructor. How do I get a child car seat?
I am a CPS-certified Technician. How do I get a child car seat?
I am a not a CPS-certified Instructor or Technician. How do I get a child car seat?
I am a parent of multiple children. Will I be able to receive more than one car seat?
I am a parent of one child who rides with another person frequently (ex: spouse, grandparent). Will I be able to receive more than one car seat?
I am a parent with no vehicle who uses public transportation. Will I be able to receive a car seat without arriving in a vehicle?
I am a business owner/worker that transports those with no vehicle. Sometimes families need transportation, but their child(ren) do not have a car seat. How do I get car seats for them?
I am a business owner/worker that transports children to school from a daycare (or other organization) using a short bus (NOT a school bus). What are the child restraint requirements?
What is the make/model seat currently being offered?
Is there a list of approved instructors?
Is there a list of approved fitting stations?
How can I become a certified technician?
How do I apply for a scholarship to pay the Safe Kids fee to be a CPS Instructor or Technician?
When should my child begin to use a car seat?
When can my child stop using a car seat?
Does a car seat really make a difference? (I never sat in one as a child)
What is the penalty for not using a car seat?
What is the safest way to transport my child in a vehicle seat?
Why do you recommend booster seats for children up to age 8?
Where can I receive more child safety seat information?

Promotional and Literature Item Questions

Q: Who funds the OPRC?

A: The OPRC is funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Safety Office.

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Q: What resources are available from the OPRC?

A: There is a limited number of promotional items, including stickers and DVDs, as well as a variety of literature available to download for a wide range of ages. There are also items specific to CPS Instructors and Technicians that are in a special menu just for them.

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Q: Who can order these resources?

A: Any Florida resident may order materials. There is a set of resources specific to CPS Instructors and Technicians as well.

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Q: How do I order resources?

A: Resources available to all Florida citizens are found by hovering your mouse over "Promotional Items" in the top menu bar where you will find Materials to order, as well as print-ready resources you can download and print immediately on your own printer.  

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Q: I am a CPS Instructor (or Technician). How do I order the CPS-specific resources?

A: There is a set of resources purchased specifically for Florida CPS-certified instructors and technicians, including LATCH manuals, and DVDs. Click on "Occupant Protection Information" -> "Child Restraints" -> "CPS Instructor (or Technician)" -> login -> "Instructor (or Technician) Resources"

Q: When logging in, the system does not recognize my email, saying it is an "invalid user ID." What might be the problem?

A: You have either entered the email address incorrectly or do not have a profile created with us. There is a link in the login page for CPS Instructors and Technicians to create a profile and receive login information. Those who are not CPS Instructors or Technicians do not need to login to order promotional items available under "Promotional Items."

Q: When logging in, the system does not recognize my password. What might be the problem?

A: If you forgot your password, please enter your email in the "Email/User ID" field, leave the password field blank and then click "Login." The system will email your password immediately.

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Q: Is there a cost for these resources?

A: All resources are provided free of charge thanks to a grant from the FDOT Safety Office.

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Q: How long does it take to get items once they are ordered?

A: Usually within 8-10 business days after an order is placed.

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Q: What ages do the resources target?

A: Mostly school age children, but some available resources are suitable for adults and senior citizens.

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Car Seat Specific Questions

Q: Who can order car seats?

A: Any Florida Child Passenger Safety (CPS) instructor with a current CPS certification may order car seats after submitting appropriate agreement forms. Techinicians should contact an instructor for order instructions. Caregivers who are not CPS-certified may contact a Fitting Station (click on "Find a CPS Professional" then "Fitting Stations") for access to these seats.

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Q: I am a CPS-certified Instructor. How do I get a child car seat?

A: Any Florida Child Passenger Safety (CPS) instructor with a current CPS certification may order car seats after submitting appropriate agreement forms. Click on "Occupant Protection Information" -> "Child Restraints" -> "CPS Instructor" then login to view agreement forms and access to the order screen.

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Q: I am a CPS-certified Technician. How do I get a child car seat?

A: Any Florida Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Techinicians may contact an instructor for order instructions and expectations of submitting distribution data. A list of instructors is available by clicking "Find a CPS Professional", and is advisable to contact the instructor of the Technician course you attended. 

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Q: I am a not a CPS-certified Instructor or Technician. How do I get a child car seat?

A: Caregivers who are not CPS-certified may contact a Fitting Station (click on "Find a CPS Professional" then "Fitting Stations") for access to these seats. OPRC seats are filtered through CPS Instructors and Technicians who work these fitting stations to reach as many needy families as possible.

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Q: I am a parent of multiple children. Will I be able to receive more than one car seat?

A: Yes. One car seat is available per child, as we want all children to travel safe on Florida roadways.

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Q: I am a parent of one child who rides with another person frequently (ex: spouse, grandparent). Will I be able to receive more than one car seat?

A: No. One car seat is available per child, to be able to reach as many Florida children as possible. 

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Q: I am a parent with no vehicle who uses public transportation. Will I be able to receive a car seat without arriving in a vehicle?

A: Yes. Car seats are still required even in vehicles such as taxis and buses, and we want all children in need of a car seat protected. Car seat installation instruction will still occur with your child and car seat with one of the technician's vehicles at the fitting station, so you will know how to install your child's car seat.

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Q: I am a business owner/worker that transports those with no vehicle. Sometimes families need transportation, but their child(ren) do not have a car seat. How do I get car seats for them?

A: The OPRC car seats are to be distributed directly to a family for a particular child's use. We understand your situation, but due to our limited amount of funds, if we distribute to businesses (daycares, taxis, even not-for-profits or city/county transits), then others will follow, and soon will have no car seats to for our original mission! So we maintain the position of only serving the family directly. Please have the family contact their nearest fitting station (or us to give them contact information) (see previous question for those going to fitting stations without a vehicle). As a side note, some of our car seat vendors extend the bulk price rate given to us to those we refer. Let us know if you are interested in this option.

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Q: I am a business owner/worker that transports children to school from a daycare (or other organization) using a short bus. What are the child restraint requirements?

A: Under federal law, most vehicles are required to adhere to child passenger safety laws of the state when traveling with children. In Florida, children birth through age 5, are required to be in some type of age, height and weight appropriate child safety restraint system (CSRS). Section 316.614, Florida Statutes, states the vehicles that are not required to adhere to the use of a CSRS. One of those vehicles is a school bus. If the “short bus” being used by the daycare is classified as a school bus (as specified on the manufacturer’s label typically located in the door jam of the driver’s side door), then the vehicle would not be required to comply, however, best practices still state that any child should be in a CSRS for as long as is possible and appropriate. Even though school buses are not required to comply, most school districts require the use of some type of CSRS for all children under kindergarten age, whether it be a an actual car seat or a school bus seat specific CSRS, as a matter of best practice. This best practice is also usually applied to larger school buses used by local school districts.
“Short buses”, or type A buses, are required by federal law to be equipped with a 3 point lap/should passenger restraint system. This includes any type A school bus. This federal requirement went into effect in September, 2011. If the bus the daycare center is using is a type of “activity bus” (i.e.: is not school bus yellow in color and does not have the unique school bus related safety equipment such as warning lights and stop signs), then the day care would be required to ensure the appropriate CSRS is in the vehicle and that children through age 5 are properly secured according to the manufacturer’s instructions for the CSRS, as any other motor vehicle would be required to comply.
For more details on this or other bus questions, contact Jamie S. Warrington, CPST, Transportation Specialist, ESE & Operations, with the Florida Department of Education 850-245-9927.

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Q: What is the make/model seat currently being offered from the OPRC?

A: Several models are available each grant year to fit the most need of Florida families in need of a child restraint. Three models are available for grant year 2014: Evenflo Titan, Evenflo Secure Kid 300, and Safety 1st Apex 65 (Diono Radian R120s are available in limited quantity for special cases). These models were chosen after extensive research across several makes and models, most from an instructor poll (Graco, Safety1st, Britax, Cosco, Evenflo, First Years). Special manufacturer pricing was one of several factors when car seats were considered, such as ratings from NHTSA and IIHS, and weight/height maxes of each seat, etc. Car seats will be compared again next grant for the new batch.

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Q: Is there a list of approved instructors?

A: Yes, see “Find a CPS Professional” in the top menu bar.

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Q: Is there a list of approved fitting stations?

A: : Yes; see “Find a CPS Professional” then "Fitting Stations" in the top menu bar.  There is also an events calendar available on the bottom left of the home page.

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Q: How can I become a certified technician?

A: See “Find a CPS Professional” then "Become a CPS Professional" in the top menu bar.

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Q: How do I apply for a scholarship to pay the Safe Kids fee to be a CPS Instructor or Technician?

A: Click on "Links" -> "Forms" for the scholarship form. The OPRC pays the Safe Kids fee for Technician Course registration, as well as recertification fees for instructors and technicians, Instructor Candidacy fees, and renewal course fees.

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Q: When should my child begin to use a car seat?

A: When your child comes home from the hospital as a newborn he/she should be in his/her first car seat.

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Q: When can my child stop using a car seat?

A: The federal recommendation is when your child is 4ft 9in tall or weighs 80 pounds or is 8 year of age. Florida law requires that children through age five must be in a child restraints device per Florida Statute 316.613: …if the child is 5 years of age or younger, provide for protection of the child by properly using a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device. For children aged through 3 years, such restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat. For children aged 4 through 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a seat belt may be used….

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Q: Does a car seat really make a difference? (I never sat in one as a child)

A: Please review the following fatality statistics among children, such as the FARS statistics.

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Q: What is the penalty for not using a car seat?

A: The penalties vary from state to state. For the penalties in Florida, Florida Statute 316.613 says: (5) Any person who violates this section commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318 and shall have 3 points assessed against his or her driver license as set forth in s. 322.27.

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Q: What is the safest way to transport my child in a vehicle seat?

A:

  • Any safety seat must be installed and used according to the manufacturer's instructions and your vehicle owner's manual.
  • Infants should ride in rear facing safety seats as long as possible; until they are at least 12 months old and weigh at least 20 pounds.
  • Children who are at least 1-year-old, weigh 20-40 pounds, and can no longer ride rear-facing should ride in forward facing child safety seats.
  • Children over 40 pounds should be correctly secured in belt positioning boosters or other appropriate child restraints until the adult lap and shoulder belts fit correctly (around age 8).
  • Once the vehicle safety belts fit children, both lap and shoulder belts should be correctly used.
  • Children 12 and under should be properly restrained in the back seat.
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Q: Why do you recommend booster seats for children up to age 8?

A: While most families are used to the idea of keeping kids in safety seats until they are around 4 years old, many are not aware that children need safety seats much longer than that. Vehicle safety belts are designed to protect adults and older children, and they must fit correctly to provide that function. Looking at current vehicle designs, child growth patterns/charts, and general lessons learned through observation, many advocates have concluded that vehicle safety belts don't fit until kids are 8, 9, 10 or even 11 years old. As a result of this fact, combined with the fact that boosters are not yet widely used, we see a great number of serious (and fatal) injuries to children. Internal organ and spinal column injuries often result from improper belt fit.

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Q: Where can I receive more child safety seat information?

A: There are several good resources available for additional and up-to-date information on properly restraining children; including the OPRC's own safety link collection.

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