By Jim Donovan: Did you know that only about one in every four child safety seats are installed correctly? It’s with that in mind that the Pennsylvania 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. 16 – 22.
In 2011, nine children, from newborns to age eight, lost their lives in vehicle crashes in the state. Another 2,487 children were injured. The checkups are designed to teach parents the proper installation and use of child safety 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.state.pa.us.
Meanwhile below is a list of free car seat events scheduled in the Philadelphia area for Child Passenger Safety Week.
FREE CAR SEAT CHECKS, SEPTEMBER 17-22
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
2 p.m. – 5 p.m., Dunkin Donuts, 230 West Route 313, Perkasie, PA 18944. Contact: 512-249-9191
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Reedman Toll, 1700 East Lincoln Highway, Langhorne, PA 19056. Contact: 215-710-5900
3 p.m. – 6 p.m., Rocky Run YMCA, 1299 Baltimore Pike, Media, PA 19063. Contact: 610-558-7074
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Bucks County Department of Health, 1265 Almshouse Road, Doylestown, PA 18901. Contact: 267-580-3510
10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Middletown Fire Department, 425 S. Middletown Road, Media, PA 19063. Contact: 215-590-5437
9 a.m. – 12 p.m., PSP Skippack Barracks, 2047 C Bridge Road, Schwenksville, PA 19473. Contact: 610-584-1250 ext. 3
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Bucks County Department of Health, 261 California Road, Quakertown, PA 18951. Contact: 267-580-3510
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Good Will Fire Company, 715 East High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. Contact: 610-327-7145
8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Limerick Fire Station, 390 West Ridge Pike, Limerick, PA 19468. Contact: 610-278-5119
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Elmwood Park Zoo, 1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown, PA 19401. Contact: 215-590-5437
11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Babies “R” Us, 1336 Bristol Pike, Bensalem, PA 19020. Contact: 215-710-5900
11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Kelly Chevrolet, 600 Nutt Road, Phoenixville, PA, 19460. Contact: 610-906-2711
11 a.m. – 2 p.m., PSP Philadelphia Barracks, 2201 Belmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131. Contact: 215-560-6079