2009-09-17 / Local & State

PennDOT Offers Help During National Child Passenger Safety Week

Will honor people for making child passengers safe

Motorists are urged to have their child safety seats inspected for proper use and installation during National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 12 to 18, PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E. said last week.

"Keeping our children safe when they are traveling in a vehicle should always be a priority," Biehler said. "During Child Passenger Safety Week we remind parents and guardians that resources are available to help to them; whether it is having a seat checked at a fitting station or finding a loan program to help them afford to buy a child safety seat."

According to PennDOT, crash data show that even though a child may be restrained, the ap- propriate child safety seat must be used properly to ensure effectiveness. Since 2004, there have been 97 fatalities and 14,383 injuries to children up to age eight. Forty-six percent of those injuries were cases where either a child safety seat was not used or the child was not restrained properly.

To keep children safe, Penn- DOT provides funding for approximately 160 child passenger safety seat fitting stations. More than 5,000 seats were checked at these stations last year. In addition, PennDOT invested approximately $100,000 from fines for seatbelt violations to buy child safety seats for its loaner program, which loans car seats to families in need. Information on fitting stations and the loaner program is available by calling 1-800- CAR-BELT or visiting www.DriveSafePA.org.

In addition to providing these resources, as part of Child Passenger Safety Week, PennDOT will honor law enforcement officials, medical professionals and community organizations for their contributions to child passenger safety during events across the state.

Under Pennsylvania's primary child passenger safety law, children under the age of four must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat anywhere in the vehicle. In addition, children from age four up to age eight must be restrained in an appropriate booster seat. Violating either of these laws can result in a $100 fine plus associated costs.

Once a child outgrows the booster seat, state law requires that children up to age 18 must be secured in a seat belt system anywhere in the vehicle. Violators of this law are subject to a $10 fine plus associated costs.

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