HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State police will offer free child passenger safety seat checkups throughout Pennsylvania as part of the department's participation in National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 12-18, Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski announced.
Each of the department's regional troops will conduct at least one checkup during the week, Pawlowski said. The checkups are designed to teach parents the proper installation and use of child safety seats.
"We know that child passenger safety seats save lives, but only when they are installed and used properly," Pawlowski said. "Using these seats properly is a public safety priority for Governor Rendell and the state police."
Pennsylvania law requires that children under 4 years of age be securely fastened in an approved child passenger restraint seat while traveling in a vehicle. Children ages 4 to 8 must use a booster seat if they are no longer in a car seat.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research, the correct use of child restraints has saved the lives of more than 8,300 children under age 5 during the past 30 years. Research shows that child restraints provide the best protection for all children up to age 8; after age 8 seat belts provide the best protection.
Pawlowski noted that state police issued 284 occupant protection citations and 1,351 occupant protection warnings during National Child Passenger Safety Week traffic stops last year. Citations and warnings were not issued to people who brought their seats to the voluntary inspections.
The department's Bureau of Patrol offered the following tips to parents:
- Use the car's seat belt to anchor the seat to the car unless you are using a child safety seat with a LATCH system;
- Read and follow the car seat manufacturer's instructions;
- Fill out and return the registration card for your seat so you'll know if the seat has been recalled because of a problem;
- Make sure the seat's harness fits snugly; and
- Use a tether strap if the seat requires it.
Because of the potential dangers associated with air bags when deployed, the state police also recommend that children 12 and under always ride in a vehicle's rear seat.
Information on the location of the checkups and additional car seat safety tips are available at www.psp.state.pa.us.
SOURCE Pennsylvania State Police Department