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Child safety

Published September 17. 2010 05:00PM

National Child Passenger Safety Week begins next week and PennDOT is reminding parents and caregivers to get back to basics and review car seat safety for their children.

During Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept 19-25, parents and caregivers can visit a fitting station to have their seats checked by a trained technician for proper instaqllation and use.

The three major types of misuse include:

* Incorrect harness use with the harness being too loose, routed incorrectly or twisted.

* Incorrect seat selection as the wrong child safety seat was being used for the child's age, weight, height or physical development and behavioral needs.

* Incorrect installation that the seat wa not correctly installed on the vehicle seat using a seat belt or a latch system.

Last year on Pennsylvania roads, seven children from newborns up to age eight lost their lives and more than 2,100 were injured in crashes. To increase your child's chances of surviving a crash, officials encourage you to get back to basics on car seat safety.

The basics of child passenger safety start with the state's primary child passenger safety law, which requires children up to age four to be properly restrained in an appropriate child safety seat.

The law also requires infants to be rear-facing until they reach one year of age and 20 pounds. However, for increased injury protection, safety advocates now recommend keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible up to the maximum height or weight limit of the car seat.

Children from age four up to age eight are required by the state's booster seat law to be properly restrained in an appropriate booster seat. Children may need to stay in a booster seat past age eight since seat belts do not fit properly if they weigh less than 80 pounds or are shorter than four-feet, nine-inches.

In 209, nearly 5,000 drivers were cited for violating these laws, resulting in a $100 fine plus associated costs.

For more information on child passenger safety and to view a list of car seat checks, visit www.DriveSafePA.ord, then "Traffic Safety Information Center" and "Child Passenger Safety."


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