(WHTM) – Free car seat checks will occur across Pennsylvania from September 17 through September 23 for National Child Passenger Week and PennDOT, Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), and Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project are encouraging drivers to attend.
“Seat belts are your best defense in a crash, but they were created for adults,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “It’s important that parents and caregivers take time this week to ensure they are using the right car seat or booster seat for their child’s size and age.”
The car seats will be checked by a PSP personnel certified as a Child Passenger Safety technician 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.
“Properly installed child safety seats save lives, and it’s vital that Pennsylvania’s youngest passengers are safe when traveling,” said PSP Commissioner Colonel Christopher Paris. “We encourage parents and caregivers to have their seats checked by a certified child passenger seat technician to ensure proper installation.”
The risk of a fatal injury is reduced by up to 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers due to car seats, according to national statistics.
The news release states that 46 percent of car seats/booster seats are installed or used incorrectly.
In 2023, PSP discovered 207 incidents of misuse out of 525 child safety seat inspections.
PSP and PennDOT remind drivers that the law states that any occupants younger than 18 years old must wear a seat belt while anywhere in the vehicle.
Another law PSP and PennDOT remind drivers is that any 18-year-old or older in the front seat must wear a seatbelt and that any child 12 years old or younger should always be wearing a seatbelt and in the backseat.
“Car seats come in many shapes and sizes. The best way to protect your child is to select the right car seat for their age and size and to use the car seat correctly on every trip,” said PA TIPP Director Angela Osterhuber. “Child passenger safety technicians are available to help parents learn how to keep their children safe and secure in their car seat.”
According to the Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project, these tips will increase the safety of your child in their car seat/booster seat:
- 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 the manufacturer’s instructions
To find a car seat check location near you, click here.
For more information on how to keep passengers safe, or if you are unable to afford a car seat, call 1-800-CAR-BELT or visit www.PAKidsTravelSafe.org to find the nearest car seat loan program.