Child passenger safety is more important than ever as traffic deaths nationwide are climbing at an alarming rate. Crashes are a leading cause of death in children, and fatalities have been steadily increasing since 2014.
As a community, we have an obligation to keep our precious children safe while traveling. Parents and caregivers can do this by making sure children are properly buckled up and in the proper car seat for every trip, every time.
Child Passenger Safety Week is September 23-29, 2018, and it’s a good opportunity to review the guidelines for car seat selection, direction, location, installation and harnessing. It is crucial to make sure each child in a vehicle is traveling in the correct car seat for their age and size.
Here are the guidelines under Pennsylvania’s Child Passenger Protection Act 229:
- All children from birth to age of 4 must be buckled into a federally-approved child passenger restraint system (child safety seat), which must be secured to the vehicle by the seat belt system (or using the vehicle’s LATCH system, available in newer vehicles), no matter where they ride in the vehicle.
- As of August 2016, children younger than age 2 must be secured rear-facing, until they outgrow the maximum weight and height of the car seat. Children under 2 are 75 percent less likely to die or to be severely injured in a crash if they are rear-facing.
- All children 4 years of age and older, but less than 8 years, must be buckled into a federally-approved child booster seat, which must be secured to the vehicle by the seat belt system, no matter where they ride in a vehicle (front or back seat). Booster seats must be used in conjunction with lap and shoulder belts.
- All children ages 8 to 18 years of age must be buckled in a seat belt, no matter where they ride in the vehicle (front or back seat). Keep in mind that the back seat is the safest place for a child under the age of 12 to ride.
- Drivers are responsible for securing children into an approved child passenger restraint system and ensuring children under age 18 are buckled up.
When used properly, car seats, booster seats and seat belts save lives and offer the best protection for children in crashes. National Seat Check Saturday is September 29th, and there are many local educational events that teach Pennsylvania laws and offer best practice recommendations for correctly securing children.
At Metzger Wickersham, we do all we can to support efforts in promoting child passenger safety, and we hope you will too!
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