State Police and PennDOT are encouraging motorists to participate in free child passenger safety seat checkups throughout Pennsylvania as the agencies mark National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 15 – 21.
In addition, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, has been designated as “National Seat Check Saturday.”
“I urge all parents and caregivers to get their seats checked, because using the right seat in the right position is so important to children’s safety,” PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. “Anyone who transports children has the responsibility to make sure they’re legally and correctly secured – that’s why we work with police and safety partners to make child safety resources available year-round.”
PennDOT funds resources such as training and educational materials for 145 fitting stations across Pennsylvania, at which more than 5,000 car seats were checked last year. The checkups are designed to teach drivers the proper installation and use of child safety seats.
“Our first priority must be to protect the safety of our most precious cargo every time we get behind the wheel,” Pennsylvania State Police Lieutenant Colonel George L. Bivens said. “Traffic crashes are among the leading causes of death in Pennsylvania, and educating the public about the proper use of child safety seats plays an important role in saving lives.”
Each of the department’s troops will conduct at least one safety seat check during the week, Bivens said. The seat checks are designed to teach drivers the proper installation and use of child safety seats.
“Child safety seats will save lives, but only when they are installed and used properly,” Bivens said.
Pennsylvania law requires that children under the age of 4 ride in a federally approved car seat that is appropriate for the child’s age, height and weight. Children between the ages of 4 and 8 must use a booster seat if they are no longer in a car seat.
The state’s seat belt law mandates that children ages 8 to 17 must use a seat belt, and violating this law is a primary offense. It is a secondary offense for drivers and front seat passengers age 18 and older to travel unbuckled.
Because of the potential dangers associated with air bag deployment, children ages 12 and under should always ride in a vehicle’s back seat.
The State Police Bureau of Patrol also offered the following tips:
- Read and follow the car seat and vehicle manufacturers’ instructions;
- Use the car’s seat belt to anchor the seat to the car unless you are using a child safety seat with the LATCH system;
- Fill out and return the registration card for your seat so you’ll know if it is recalled because of a problem;
- Make sure the seat’s harness fits snugly; and
- Use a tether strap if the seat requires it.
For more information on car seat safety and to get a list of state police car seat safety inspection locations and dates, click on the “Public Safety” link at www.psp.state.pa.us.
To view a list of PennDOT-supported car seat checks and see how PennDOT promotes child passenger safety, visit www.JustDrivePA.com, then “Traffic Safety Information Center” and “Child Passenger Safety.”