NORRISTOWN, PA – The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services Office of Public Health
(OPH) is participating in Child Passenger Safety Week during the week of September 19-25, 2021. Child Passenger Safety Week is a campaign dedicated to helping parents and caregivers make sure their children ride in the car as safely as possible. This year’s theme is “Love Me, Buckle Me, in the Right Seat at the Right Time” and urges parents and caregivers to protect their child’s future at every stage of life, by making sure they secure them in the correct car seat.
In lieu of in-person Car Seat Checks due to COVID-19, the Montgomery County Office of Public Health offers free, one-hour Virtual Car Seat Check Appointments for families to ensure proper installation of their child safety seats and receive valuable child passenger safety information. More information about the Montgomery County Child Passenger Safety Program, including how to schedule a Virtual Car Seat Check can be found here
our office with questions.
The Montgomery County Office of Public Health Division of Health Promotion is also highlighting best child passenger safety practices and Pennsylvania laws through social media posts on the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services' Facebook
, and Instagram
pages and on the OPH's Facebook
pages , during Child Passenger Safety Week and throughout the year. Please follow their pages for community health information, programming and upcoming events.
As members of the Safe Kids Southeastern PA Coalition, Montgomery County Child Passenger Safety Technicians will also be volunteering at a Virtual Car Seat Special Event being held on Monday, September 20, 2021 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Families can learn how to safely install their child safety seats and have a chance to ask questions from Chicco, a car seat manufacturer. Click here
to sign-up for an appointment. The deadline to sign-up is Monday, September 20.
Motor vehicle crashes remain a leading killer of children. Parents and caregivers want to protect their children and keep them safe, but data shows that nearly half (46%) of car seats are misused. Children who are correctly buckled in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt benefit from the single most effective way to protect passengers in a motor vehicle and reduce fatalities in a crash. A correctly selected and installed car seat or booster seat is essential in keeping children safe in the vehicle. Whenever possible, all children younger than 13 years of age should ride buckled in the back seat.
Parents and caregivers need to make certain they and their children are properly buckled on every trip. Most parents are confident that they have correctly selected and installed their child's car seat. Sadly, three children younger than 14 years of age were killed every day in 2019 while riding in motor vehicles in the United States. No parent ever wants to get it wrong when it comes to a child’s safety. Many children travel in a car seat that is appropriate for their age and size, but some children are either not correctly secured or completely unsecured in the back of a vehicle.
“Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store, back to school, or a long-distance road trip, correctly used car seats, booster seats and seat belts are the best way to make sure a family is the most protected,” said Gina Duchossois, Chair of the Safe Kids Southeastern PA Coalition. “September’s focus on child passenger safety provides parents an opportunity to place a life-saving emphasis on child safety in cars by making sure their child’s car seat is used and installed correctly.”
According to PennDOT data, in 2020, there were 286 reportable crashes every day on average. Among those motor vehicle accidents, 21 unrestrained children aged eight and under were injured in Montgomery County. According to national data, using the correct car seat reduces the chance of fatal injury for infants by 71 percent and toddlers by 54 percent. To ensure every child is in the right car seat that is installed and used correctly based on age, weight and height, caregivers can schedule a virtual or in-person car seat check appointment with certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians. This free and valuable service can make a world of difference in keeping young passengers safe.
In Pennsylvania, the driver is responsible for securing children in the appropriate child restraint system. Children from birth up to age four must be secured in an approved child safety seat anywhere in the vehicle. A child younger than two years of age shall be secured in a rear-facing car seat, to be used until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the car seat manufacturer. Children age four up to age eight must be in a booster seat and secured with a lap and shoulder belt anywhere in the vehicle.
Children age eight up to age 18 must be secured in a seat belt system anywhere in the vehicle. Under Pennsylvania’s seat belt law, all drivers are responsible for the front seat passengers to wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt. All drivers under 18 years of age may not operate a motor vehicle in which the number of passengers exceeds the number of available seat belts in the vehicle.
If you are unable to afford a car seat, call 1-800-CAR-BELT or visit www.pakidstravelsafe.org
to find the nearest car seat loan program. Child Safety Seat Inspection Stations and Community Car Seat Checkup Events are provided on the website.
Contact Community Traffic Safety Project Coordinator and Health Educator, Elizabeth Raum
to find out more about community traffic safety programming for your school, business, or organization.