They are in millions of cars across the country but according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) three out of four child safety seats are not properly installed. So PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police are again partnering to offer safety seat checkups as part of National Child Passenger Safety Week.
More than 5,000 car seats were checked last year at 141 fitting stations across the commonwealth. The checkups are designed to provide parents, guardians, and caregivers with the proper information to help keep children safe, including the proper installation and use of safety seats.
State Trooper Robin Mungo says that this week isn’t as much about enforcing laws as it is informing those who transport children on how to properly install and use the seats properly.
“This is about educating the public, and getting them the information they need to install the seat properly,” Mungo said.
Mungo said improper seat installation can result in injury or death.
“It is necessary to get the information you need to be educated on how to put it in properly,” said Mungo, “It will reduce the chances of being involved in a fatal crash or reduce the number of injuries a child would receive in a crash.”
There are several events scheduled throughout the week, including Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Washington Auto Mall in Washington, PA and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Magee Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. More information on other fitting stations can be found from the State Police or Safe Kids.
Even though this week highlights child passenger safety, Mungo says that this is a year round concern.
“I also know that there are some departments that have a permanent fitting station where you can go anytime….. and this week is just to remind people that their seats are in properly,” Mungo said.
Mungo said her own children are now out of car seats, but she remembers how important it was when they were still riding in them.
“You know, the most important package you carry is your child. You want to make sure that they are in that seat properly.”