PennDOT, State Police Participate in National Child Passenger Safety Week

HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – 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, September 13-19. Additionally, Saturday, September 19 has been designated as “National Seat Check Saturday.”

“Keeping children safe is a large responsibility, and the seat checks and educational materials we have available are a great resource for parents and caregivers,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “We encourage the public to take advantage of these services not just during this national awareness week, but also throughout the year.”

PennDOT funds resources such as training and educational materials for 150 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.

“Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death and injury for children,” said Acting State Police Commissioner Tyree Blocker. “Child safety seats can save lives, but only when they are properly installed and used.”

Blocker said each state police troop will conduct at least one child safety-seat inspection during the week. At those inspections, troopers certified as child passenger safety technicians by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration will inspect child safety seats and provide information to parents on proper use of those seats.

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.pa.gov.

To view a list of PennDOT-supported car seat checks and for more child passenger safety resources, visit www.JustDrivePA.com, then “Traffic Safety Information Center” and “Child Passenger Safety.”


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