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Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, PA/DE
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PHILADELPHIA, PA (September 21, 2020) – Every day in America, too many children ride in car seats that have been installed incorrectly, or are riding in the wrong car seats for their ages and sizes. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), child restraint systems are often used incorrectly. An estimated 46% of car seats and booster seats (59% of car seats and 20% of booster seats) are misused in a way that could reduce their effectiveness. Even worse, some children ride while completely unbuckled.
During National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 20-26, AAA Mid-Atlantic urges parents to review Pennsylvania’s car seat law, be sure children are in the proper child seat or booster for their age and size, avoid common mistakes, and seek expert assistance with car seat installation.
“Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for children,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Using car seats that are age- and size-appropriate is the best way to keep your children safe. Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts can make all the difference.”
Child Passenger Safety Statistics
Source: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) car seat recommendations advises parents to keep their children's car seats in the rear-facing position for as long as possible. Previously, the AAP recommended rear-facing car seats up until the age of two.
In Pennsylvania, 27 children (under age four) have died in vehicle crashes between 2015 and 2019 according to PennDOT. Car seats matter, and having the right car seat installed and used the right way is critical. PennDOT also cited that from 2015-2019, 83% of the children under age 4 who were involved in crashes and restrained in a child seat sustained no injury.
Pennsylvania law requires that children under the age of four to be properly restrained in a child passenger restraint system when riding anywhere in a vehicle. Just over four years ago, Pennsylvania adopted a new law requiring that children be restrained in rear-facing child passenger restraint systems until at least age two or until they have outgrown the height and weight limits designated by the car seat manufacturer. Children age four up to age eight, are required to be in an appropriately fitting child booster seat when riding anywhere in a vehicle. Children from age eight up to age 18 must be in a seat belt.
“Pennsylvania’s child car seat law was updated in 2016 to require rear-facing car seats for children until at least two years of age,” noted Tidwell. “Industry research clearly shows infants and toddlers should continue to ride rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height recommended by the manufacturer of the seat.”
Seven Common Car Seat Mistakes
Remember to register your car seat or booster seat with the seat manufacturer so you can be notified in the event of a recall. Parents and caregivers can view more information on car seat safety and locate a certified technician at nhtsa.gov/carseat. To find a Pennsylvania State Police child passenger safety seat check event, visit https://www.psp.pa.gov/public-safety/Pages/Child-Seat-Check-Events.aspx.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 60 million members nationwide and more than 3.2 million members in Pennsylvania. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile appss for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.
Who's in the Driver's Seat? The Transformation of Transportation
On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, AAA and TEDx Wilmington held the first TEDx Salon dedicated to ideas worth spreading in transportation.
This event had:
This TEDx WilmingtonSalon was organized in partnership with AAA
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