Free Car Seat Safety Check for Parents and Caregivers in Chester County and Greater Region

child car seat© SolStock / Getty Images Signature / Canva

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will be offering free car seat safety checks and education to parents and caregivers in the Philadelphia region as part of Child Passenger Safety Week, which runs from September 18-24.

The goal of the annual safety week is to provide parents and caregivers with free instruction on correctly installing and using the right car seats for their kids. During free car seat checks, technicians will help determine if children are in the right seat for their age and size and explain the importance of registering car seats with the manufacturer which ensures users are notified in the event of a safety recall.

“Most parents think their kids are in the right seats and that the seats are installed the right way,” said Alyson Strigle, Delaware County Transportation Management Association Project Director. “The reality is that nearly half of car seats are installed incorrectly, leaving kids vulnerable to injury in a crash.”

Child passenger safety seat checks are an opportunity for parents to ensure their children are safe in their car and booster seats. “Don’t wait for a crash to happen to find out if your child’s seat is installed correctly. At that point, it’s too late to check,” said Strigle. “Let an expert check for you to have that peace of mind.”

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children, and the latest research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that 46% of car seats are misused. The single most effective way to protect children in a crash is by installing and using the correct car seat every trip, every time.

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A common mistake made with car seats is moving children to the next seat or position too soon. Pennsylvania law requires children to ride in a rear-facing car seat to the age of two. Best car seat practice based on decades of research recommends children ride rear-facing as long as possible, up to the top height and weight allowed by the car seat manufacturer. Once a child outgrows a rear-facing car seat, they are ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. After outgrowing the forward-facing car seat, a child should be buckled in a booster seat until tall enough to fit properly in an adult seat belt.

“Children might ask to ditch the booster seat because it makes them feel older to ride without it,” said Strigle. “But their safety matters most.”

Motorists are encouraged to schedule a free car seat check with a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician at the following locations:

Chester County

Delaware County

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Montgomery County

All parents and caregivers are invited to attend these free events.

PennDOT encourages everyone who drives child passengers to check out the list of free online resources at www.penndot.pa.gov/TravelInPA/Safety/TrafficSafetyAndDriverTopics/pages/child-passenger-safety.aspx.

PennDOT also offers the following tips:

  • Select a car seat that is right for the child’s age and size and use it every time;
  • Fill out and return the registration card for your seat, so you’ll be notified in the event of a safety recall;
  • Always read and follow the car seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual for information on correctly installing the car seat in the vehicle; and
  • Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.

Motorists can check current road conditions by visiting the MyChesCo Traffic Center. Stay up to date on the latest news and information from MyChesCo with our free newsletter.

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