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8 Things To Know About PA Child Car Seat Safety Law

Patch logo Patch 9/18/2019 Kara Seymour
a person sitting on the seat of a car © Provided by Planck, LLC, d/b/a Patch Media

PENNSYLVANIA — It's National Child Passenger Safety Week, which is a good time to make sure you are following the law when it comes to car seats and boosters for your children.

Here are eight things every Pennsylvania resident should know about the state's Child Passenger Safety Protection Law:

  1. Infants and children under 8 years old must be in an approved child restraint or booster seat when riding anywhere in a motor vehicle.
  2. Children younger than 2 years old should ride in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system, to be used until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the car seat manufacturer.
  3. Children 4 years of age or older but under 8 years of age can ride in a seat belt system and an appropriately fitting child booster seat.
  4. Pennsylvania’s safety belt law also mandates that children ages 8 through 17 must use a seat belt.
  5. Children age 12 and under should ride buckled in the back seat because of the potential dangers associated with air bag deployment.
  6. Violating the seat belt law is a primary offense.
  7. Parents should make sure harness and seat belt straps are positioned correctly. In a rear-facing car seat, harness straps should lay flat and fit snugly positioned at or below the shoulder, with the harness retainer clip at armpit level. In a forward-facing car seat, harness straps should lay flat and fit snugly positioned at or above the shoulder, with the harness retainer clip at armpit level.
  8. When using a belt-positioning booster seat, the shoulder belt should be snug across the center of the child’s shoulder and chest. The lap belt should be low and snug across the child’s hips/upper thighs.

According to PennDOT data, 54 children under the age of 8 died in vehicle crashes between 2014-2018 statewide.

If you need help determining if your seats are safely installed, there are more than 75 PennDOT-funded fitting stations where trained technicians will check that safety seat is properly installed. Use the fitting station directory to find one near you.

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