KARS - Kids Always Ride Safe

KARS is a car seat education program AND a low cost car seat option designed to carry your children through their car seat/booster seat years

The program is offered to families (including WIC families) residing Houghton and Keweenaw Counties. It's mission is to ensure all children in Houghton and Keweenaw Counties have safe, age-appropriate car seats or boosters seats

KARS Program for WIC Families

0-3 Months OR up to 15 lbs

Eligible car seat: Infant car seat

Cost: $15

  • If you are pregnant, you are eligible to make a payment for a KARS education session once you are in your third trimester
  • Your infant should remain in this “rear facing” car seat until he/she is approximately 20 lbs
  • This program allows the purchase of one (1) infant car seat per child
  • You will be eligible to make a payment for another KARS education session where your child will be evaluated for a convertible car seat when your child outgrows (either by weight, or height) the KARS infant car seat.
  • Children who enroll in the KARS Program as infants (younger than 4 months), and remain enrolled in the Western U.P. WIC Program, are eligible for the following progression of car seats: Infant → Convertible → Booster

4-24 months OR 16-29 lbs

Eligible car seat: Combination car seat

Cost: $15

24 months through 4 years OR 30-40 lbs

Eligible car seat: Convertible car seat

Cost: $15

  • This car seat is a “forward facing only” seat which will convert to a Booster Seat. We recommend that your child stay in the harness system of this car seat until he/she has reached the maximum weight limit (usually 50 lbs.). At that time, remove the harness system and convert this car seat to a booster seat
  • This program allows the purchase of one (1) combination car seat per child
  • NOTE: Since this car seat converts to a booster seat, this is the only seat your child is eligible for through this program

4 yrs and older OR 41 lbs. through 4’9”

Eligible car seat: Booster seat

Cost: $5

  • Michigan law states children must be secured in a car seat or a booster seat up to age 8 or up to 4’9” (whichever occurs first)
  • The KARS Program CPS Technicians believe children should remain in a booster seat until they are 4’9” tall. (Example: Your daughter is 8 yrs old and 4’7”. We would recommend she remain in a booster seat until she is 4’9”)
  • This program allows the purchase of one (1) booster seat per child

Important Information

There may be times when the “General Guidelines” above will not provide the safest transport for you child. The CPS Technician may deviate from these guidelines to better ensure your child’s safety.

The following are two examples:

  1. If your child is 4 yrs and older and weighs less than 40 lbs, a car seat with a harness system may be recommended
  2. If your child is younger than 4 yrs old and weighs more than 40 lbs, a car seat with a higher weight harness system may be recommended

KARS Program for Extended Families

Extended Family = Any Houghton or Keweenaw County resident who transports a child

All participants must show proof of Houghton or Keweenaw County residency

Steps to participate in the Extended Family Program:

  1. Make a payment for a KARS Extended Family Education Session at the Western U.P. Health Department. (You will receive a car seat voucher from the staff)
  2. Schedule an appointment for a 30-40 minute KARS Extended Family Education Session with a CPS Technician
  3. Bring your child, your vehicle and voucher to the KARS Extended Family Education Session

Extended Family Education Sessions

Education Session I

Includes an Infant Car Seat (This car seat includes a base that can be left in the vehicle for easier installation.)

Cost: $40.00

Who should attend: Expectant parents/grandparents or those who care for children who are newborn through 3 months.

Education Session II

Includes a Convertible Car Seat (This car seat can be installed either “rear facing” or “forward facing”)

Cost: $40.00

Who should attend: Recommended for anyone who transports:

  1. an infant who still needs to face the rear of the vehicle
  2. a toddler up to 50 lbs. who faces the front of the vehicle

Education Session III

Includes a Combination Car Seat (This car seat includes a harness and will convert to a High Back Booster Seat)

Cost: $40.00

Who should attend: Those transporting children who are now able to face forward (Children should be a minimum of 24 months old and at least 20 lbs.) The car seat you learn about (and receive) in this session will convert to a booster seat.

Education Session IV

Includes a Booster Seat

Cost: $15.00

Who should attend: Those who transport a child 4 years old and over 40 lbs.

What to Expect at a KARS Education Session

  • Upon arrival, present your car seat voucher to the Child Passenger Safety (CPS) technician
  • You will be required to fill out a car seat check form
  • The CPS technician will use this form to evaluate your child’s transportation needs
  • The technician will select a car seat that most appropriately fits your child and your vehicle
  • You will be instructed on how to install this car seat
  • Prior to leaving the session, you will demonstrate how to safely install your child’s new car seat

Paying for the KARS program

All payments must be made at:

Western U.P. Health Department

540 Depot St.
Hancock, MI 49930

(906) 482-7382

Cash or check accepted
Make checks payable to: WUPHD 

Participating CPS Technicians

Make an appointment for a KARS Education Session with any of the following Houghton and Keweenaw County certified CPS Technicians:

UP Health System - Portage 
500 Campus Dr., Hancock 
Judy Pruner or Katie Brewster: (906) 483-1395

BHK Child Development 
700 Park Ave., Houghton 
Beth Anderson: (906) 487-6600, ext 140

Michigan Tech Public Safety & Police Services 
206 MacInnes Dr., Houghton 
Officer Marc Geborkoff: (906) 487-2216

Aspirus Keweenaw 
205 Osceola St, Laurium 
Jan List: (906) 337-6528

This program is sponsored by:

  • Office of Highway Safety Planning
  • Marquette County Health Department
  • Western U.P. Health Department
  • UP Health System - Portage
  • Aspirus Keweenaw
  • BHK Child Development
  • Michigan Tech Public Safety & Police Services