Car Seat Education & Installation

Become 100% comfortable with your car seats 

***2019 UPDATE:***

Marlee is no longer offering this service à la carte.

If you are not working with us for birth and/or postpartum doula support, we recommend contacting Amanda and Taylor at for a car seat session.

Car seat sessions will continue to be available to our birth and postpartum doula clients, either as an add-on or as part of a package.

If your car seat has you feeling like this:

Confused kid shrugging expressively Orange County car seat help

instead of like this:

Confident kid smiling thumbs up Orange County car seat check

schedule a car seat session today!

Irvine car seat pink heart
I reached out to Hero Birth Services to help safely and securely install my daughter’s car seat. Marlee met me at my location and spent a good amount of time teaching and showing me how to get a proper installation. Every car seat and car is different and I’m glad I had a professional help for the safety of my daughter. We were previously using the seat belt and with Marlee’s help discovered that the latch system was the best way to install in my car. I wish I had done this sooner!
— Ariel, Irvine

You probably know how important car seats are for keeping children safe, but let's face it: they're confusing. And this confusion leads to A LOT of unsafe car seat use.

In fact, it's estimated that in California only 10-30% of car seats are installed correctly!

That's why we offer car seat education and installation sessions. From figuring out which brand to purchase to fumbling around with all the belts and clips to trying to figure out the manual, we know car seats can be overwhelming... and we're here to help.

Marlee is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) and skillfully guides parents through the process of properly installing and removing car seats into and out of their own cars.

Marlee's goal is for parents to feel 100% comfortable using their car seats every time.

Car Seat Session Rates

1 car seat and 1 vehicle: $40

*Each additional car seat or vehicle during the same session is $10. We highly recommend checking your seat in each vehicle in which it will be used, as there can be compatibility issues with certain car seat brands and certain vehicle models/years.


Included in your car seat visit:

  • Done at your home or a convenient meeting location, on your schedule.

  • We provide education on your seat(s), your car(s), and how they fit together best to protect your little one.

  • Hands-on practice with guidance and adjustments as needed so you can feel completely comfortable installing and removing your seat(s), as well as securing your little one

  • Proper installation, car seat registration and recall information provided and explained

  • Time to ask all the questions you need to feel comfortable with your car seat(s)

Costa Mesa car seat help Marlee Malone-Franklin CPST
Irvine car seat safety Marlee Malone-Franklin CPST

When can you schedule a car seat session?

  • Anytime you get a new car seat

  • Anytime you get a new car

  • During pregnancy, before you ever transport a brand new baby (especially wonderful to combat new-parent-sleep-deprivation syndrome!)

  • In the first few weeks of baby’s life to make sure everything is installed and used correctly (especially if you didn’t have the seat checked before baby was born)

  • The first time you find that you need to adjust the shoulder straps as baby grows

  • When your grandchild is coming to visit and you want to have a safely installed car seat ready for them

  • When another caregiver will be transporting your little one in their car with any regularity (grandparent, nanny, etc.)

  • When you’re ready (or think you’re ready) to install your little one’s car seat front-facing (view current California laws here)

  • When you’re ready (or think you’re ready) to switch to a booster seat for an older child (view current California laws here)

  • When your family is growing and you need help figuring out the safest configuration of car seats in your car

Do any of these situations apply to you?

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do to prepare for my car seat session?

  • Make sure you’ve allotted enough time for your visit (especially important for parents taking time out of their work day). There isn’t a set time frame for car seat sessions because they can range from 20 minutes to 2+ hours! In general for one car seat and one car, 90 minutes will be plenty of time.

  • Unbox your car seat and try installing it yourself before our session. This will save us time during the session, as well as giving you a preview of some of the tricky parts of the car seat set up. Best case scenario: you install your seat perfectly all by yourself! But chances are good that you’ll run into some questions along the way, and we can address those together.

  • Make sure your car seat and vehicle manuals are handy. This is super important. If you don’t have paper copies on hand, find the manuals online and have the links ready to go so we can access them easily when we have questions during the session.

  • Park your car on level ground (bonus points if it’s in the shade). We’ll need to make sure the seat angle is correct, which means the car needs to be level as a starting place. And since we’ll be outside for possibly over an hour, shade is fantastic!

Car seat help Costa Mesa

How much time should I set aside for my car seat session?

Car seat sessions can last anywhere from 20 minutes to nearly 2 hours, depending on several factors:

  • If the car seat is already removed from all its packaging, we can get started with the installation sooner

  • If you have multiple car seats to install, that will obviously add to the session length

  • Complicated configurations (like installing car seats 3-across for example) can take longer

  • Some car seats and some cars just don't play nicely together and it can take a while to figure out how to get a safe installation. This isn't something any of us can predict or control, unfortunately.

We recommend setting aside an hour and a half for your car seat session, just to be on the safe side. 

Remember, this is a "car seat education and installation" session, not a "come over and throw the car seat in my car okbye" session. Our goal is for you to be able to spend time learning and absorbing what you need to know in order to use your car seat(s) safely each and every time you install them and secure your little one(s). It's much easier to learn and remember the important stuff when you aren't worried about making it to your next commitment on time, so please set aside plenty of time for your session.

Can you just come over and install the car seat for me?

Well, I could... but that wouldn't be serving you or your little one very well. My goal during a car seat session is to help YOU learn to install and use your car seat comfortably. We will practice a few times, answering questions and problem-solving along the way. 

Installing a car seat isn't something you can learn from just reading or talking about it. It's a learned skill. The physical practice of installing your car seat with your own two hands with the guidance of a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) is invaluable.

What should I expect for my car seat session?

If you've already purchased and installed your car seat, Marlee will begin by reviewing the current set-up with you and noting any safety adjustments that need to be made for proper use. Then she will use the car seat manual, your vehicle manual, and other resources if needed to uninstall the seat so you can practice installing it yourself, step-by-step. Then Marlee will ask you to repeat the process, allowing you a chance to practice what you've just learned, and ensuring that you can achieve the safest installation each and every time you use your car seat. Marlee can also teach you how to use the LATCH system as well as seat belts to secure your car seat, and can discuss the differences between them.

Once proper installation has been established, Marlee will walk you through the steps of securing your little one into the car seat itself. (If you are expecting or if your child isn't at the visit, a doll may be used.)

After you're comfortable with installing the seat itself and securing your child in it, Marlee will tell you about any recalls announced for the car seat and your vehicle so you can take any action required. 

You can always follow up with Marlee after your session if you have additional questions, as your child grows and new adjustments need to be made, or if you get a new car and want help learning the same process in a different vehicle.

FAQ from occarseat.comWhat about the fire station? Don't they check seats for free? 

A generation ago, many CHP Offices, Police Stations, and Fire Departments were the go-to location for help using a car seat. Today, most of these emergency service organizations either lack funding, man power, or the will to send officers and agents to the week-long training for certification. Additionally, car seats have become increasingly more complex as safety technology increases. (This is why CPSTs must recertify every two years.)

In Southern California, few cities/counties employ currently certified CPSTs, and many publicly employed CPSTs cannot offer help with actual installation and harnessing because of liability concerns. Those that do offer installation help have lengthy wait-times for appointments because of the overwhelming demand. 

*If you stop by a fire station, police department, medical facility, or retail store to get your car seat or booster checked, always ask for the provider's CPST certification card to verify the agent or officer helping you is up to date and supports your family legally and safely. Additionally, if the car seat appointment does not include these tasks, you may be missing crucial information: Car seat sessions should always include hands-on education, recall checks, and question-answering about the car seat(s).

I've had the same car seat for a while, but it's time to turn it to the front facing position. Can you help me with that?

Definitely! This is a great reason to have a visit with a CPST. With each new age and stage, there is something else to adjust on your car seat. It can be so helpful to make a big adjustment like going from rear facing to front facing with the guidance of a car seat tech so you can be 100% confident every time you use your seat.

I'm expecting again and need to rearrange the car seat situation in my car. Can you help?

Yes I can! It can be tough to figure out the safest location in your car(s) for each car seat, and you don't have to do it alone. Part of CPST training is learning how to get safe installations for each car seat, so we can work on this together. And congratulations, by the way! :-)

I got a new car and my car seat doesn't fit the way it did in my previous car. Can you help?

Of course! Changing cars is a great time to have a car seat visit. Different makes, models, and years of vehicles have various systems in place for car seat installation. Switching systems can be confusing and overwhelming, and contributes to the likelihood that the car seat will not be installed properly. So schedule a visit and we'll take a look at your new car's set-up, helping you become 100% comfortable again installing your car seat!