The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania State Police and Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project are encouraging drivers to take advantage of safety seat check resources across the state as the agencies mark National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 19-25. Additionally, Saturday, Sept. 25 has been designated as “National Seat Check Saturday.”
“Seat belts and car seats are the best defense in a crash,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “PennDOT urges all parents and caregivers to take time this week to learn more about the importance of correctly selecting, installing and using car seats, booster seats and seat belts.”
Car seat checks will be held across the state on Child Passenger Safety Week. Visit pakidstravelsafe.org/news-and-events/events/ for a list of events. PSP personnel certified as Child Passenger Safety technicians will conduct free child seat fitting events across the state. Caregivers can have their car seats checked for suitability, receive instruction on the proper installation, have seat(s) installed, learn to properly harness a child in a seat and check seats for recalls. Visit psp.pa.gov/public-safety/Pages/Child-Seat-Check-Events.aspx for a full list of events.
According to national statistics, car seats can reduce the risk of fatal injury by up to 71 percent for infants and 59 percent for toddlers. However, 46 percent of car seats and booster seats are installed or used incorrectly. Children must ride in a booster seat until their eighth birthday, according to Pennsylvania law. Because of the potential dangers associated with air bag deployment, children 12 and younger should always ride buckled in a vehicle’s back seat.
“Parents and caregivers are encouraged to educate themselves and seek out assistance to properly install child passenger safety seats,” said Col. Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the PSP. “Keeping our youngest passengers safe should be a priority for everyone. Troopers who are certified as child passenger safety seat technicians are available to assist anyone who has questions or needs help installing a child seat.”
The Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project offered the following tips:
– Select a car seat that is right for the child’s age and size
– Fill out and return the registration card for your seat so you’ll know if it is recalled because of a problem
– Read and follow the car seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual for information on correctly installing the car seat in the vehicle
– Use the car’s seat belt or the LATCH system when installing the car seat
– Make sure the car seat’s harness is correctly adjusted and fits snugly
– Use a tether strap when installing a forward-facing car seat, following manufacturer’s instructions
For more information or if you are unable to afford a car seat, call 1-800-CAR-BELT or visit pakidstravelsafe.org to find the nearest car seat loan program.