Most Child Safety Seats Incorrectly Installed, State Police Inspections Find

September 25, 2009

Parents Encouraged to Have Seats Inspected by State Police Troopers

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – More than 80 percent of child passenger safety seats inspected earlier this month by the Pennsylvania State Police were incorrectly installed, according to Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski, who today urged parents to check the child safety seats in their vehicles.

“Child passenger safety seats save lives, but only when they are used properly,” Pawlowski said. “Parents need to check the instruction booklet for their seat to make sure the seat was installed properly. If parents have any doubts at all, they should arrange for an inspection by our troopers.”

State police inspected 1,073 child safety seats at 82 locations during National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 12-18. Pawlowski said troopers found that 888, or 82.7 percent, of those seats were improperly installed.

“Troopers reported that in many cases, parents weren’t securely anchoring the child seat to the vehicle’s seat,” Pawlowski said. “Anchoring the child seat properly is critical to its effectiveness in a crash.”

Other common problems identified during the inspections included failing to use the child seat’s harness to hold the child in the seat, facing the car seat in the wrong direction, and using a seat that has been recalled because of a defect, Pawlowski said.

Pennsylvania law requires that children under 4 years of age be securely fastened in an approved child passenger restraint seat while traveling in a vehicle. Children ages 4 to 8 must use a booster seat if they are no longer in a car seat.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research, the lives of more than 8,300 children under age 5 have been saved by using child restraints properly during the past 30 years. Research shows that child restraints provide the best protection for all children up to age 8; after age 8 seat belts provide the best protection.

Pawlowski said state police issued 319 occupant protection citations and 1,520 occupant protection warnings during National Child Passenger Safety Week traffic stops. Citations and warnings were not issued to people who brought their seats to the voluntary inspections.

The department’s Bureau of Patrol offered the following tips to parents:

  • Use the car’s seat belt to anchor the seat to the car unless you are using a child safety seat with a LATCH system;
  • Read and follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions;
  • Fill out and return the registration card for your seat so you’ll be notified if there is a safety recall;
  • Make sure the seat’s harness fits snugly; and
  • Use a tether strap if the seat requires it.

Because of the potential dangers associated with air bags deploying, state police recommend that children 12 years of age and under ride in a vehicle’s rear seat.

For more information on car seat safety and to get a list of state police monthly car seat safety inspection locations and dates, click on the “Public Services” link at www.psp.state.pa.us.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Following is a breakdown, by troop area, of the number of safety seat inspections conducted, number of seats found to be incorrectly installed, number of citations issued during traffic stops, and number of warnings issued during traffic stops.

  • Troop A (Cambria, Indiana, Somerset and Westmoreland counties), 30 inspections, 15 improperly installed seats, 36 citations, and 39 warnings;
  • Troop B (Allegheny, Fayette, Greene and Washington counties), 40 inspections, 32 improperly installed seats, nine citations, and 36 warnings;
  • Troop C (Clarion, Clearfield, Forest, Elk, Jefferson and McKean counties), 124 inspections, 112 improperly installed seats, 32 citations, and 55 warnings;
  • Troop D (Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties), 32 inspections, 29 improperly installed seats, 47 citations, and 126 warnings;
  • Troop E (Crawford, Erie, Venango and Warren counties), 176 inspections, 162 improperly installed seats, 20 citations, and 56 warnings;
  • Troop F (Cameron, Clinton, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Union and Tioga counties), 27 inspections, 10 improperly installed seats, 28 citations, and 27 warnings;
  • Troop G (Bedford, Blair, Centre, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin counties), 67 inspections, 46 improperly installed seats, 23 citations, and 22 warnings;
  • Troop H (Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Perry and York counties), 62 inspections, 44 improperly installed seats, 41 citations, and 23 warnings;
  • Troop J (Chester and Lancaster counties), 44 inspections, 40 improperly installed seats, seven citations, and eight warnings;
  • Troop K (Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties), 34 inspections, 17 improperly installed seats, no citations, and no warnings;
  • Troop L (Berks, Lebanon and Schuylkill counties), 28 inspections, 26 improperly installed seats, 13 citations, and 117 warnings;
  • Troop M (Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton counties), 160 inspections, 137 improperly installed seats, 13 citations, and 15 warnings;
  • Troop N (Carbon, Columbia, Monroe and part of Luzerne counties), 63 inspections, 58 improperly installed seats, no citations, and no warnings;
  • Troop P (Bradford, Sullivan, Wyoming and part of Luzerne counties), eight inspections, eight improperly installed seats, 22 citations, and 19 warnings;
  • Troop R (Lackawanna, Pike, Susquehanna and Wayne counties), 176 inspections, 141 improperly installed seats, 18 citations, and 966 warnings;
  • Troop T (covers Pennsylvania Turnpike), two inspections, two improperly installed seats, 10 citations, and 11 warnings.


Lt. Myra Taylor or Jack J. Lewis

(717) 783-5556

SOURCE Pennsylvania State Police Department

Source: newswire

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