HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania State Police will offer free child safety seat inspections statewide in conjunction with the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign from May 19 to June 1.
“Vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death, with most fatalities being attributed to unbelted motorists,” said State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. “Currently, the Commonwealth’s seat belt usage rate is 84 percent and it is our goal to increase this rate by the end of 2014,” said Noonan.
Each of the department’s troops will conduct at least one safety seat check during the “Click It or Ticket” campaign period. The seat checks are designed to teach parents the proper installation and use of child safety seats.
“Child safety seats save lives, but only when they are installed and used properly,” Noonan said. “Using these seats properly is an absolute must for everyone traveling with children and ensuring the safety of our most precious cargo must be our first priority every time we get behind the wheel.”
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 ages 4 through 7 must use a booster seat if they are no longer in a car seat. Children who weigh more than 80 pounds or who are of a height of 4 feet 9 inches or taller may be fastened in the vehicle’s safety seat belt system without the use of a child booster 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 offers 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 a list of child car seat safety inspection locations and dates, visit the state police website at www.psp.state.pa.us – see the banner ad at the top of the homepage.