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Police Urge Parents to Check Child Safety Seats

In Antrim Township last Thursday, a two-year-old girl died after a vehicle ran a stop sign and hit the car she improperly restrained in. In light of this recent crash, PA State Police want to remind parents how important it is to install car seats the right way.

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. A child safety seat can mean the difference between life and death in a car accident.

In Antrim Township last Thursday, a two-year-old girl died after a vehicle ran a stop sign and hit the car she was in. Police say she was improperly restrained.

"The child was secured inside the child seat,” said Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Robert Hicks. “However, the child seat was not secured to the vehicle and because of that, the child seat was able to move around the vehicle after it was impacted, which definitely contributed to the death of the child."

In light of this recent crash, Pennsylvania State Police want to remind parents how important it is to install car seats the right way. Troopers say they see too many improperly restrained children.

"As far as kids not being restrained properly, being involved in a crash or just making general traffic stops, I’d say on average in the Troop "H" area, we handle about 20 or so of those incidents a month,” said Hicks.

Authorities say you should always follow the instructions that come with the car seat, and try to use newer models if you can. When installing your safety seat, also make sure it is secured as tight as possible.

Installation guidelines also depend on your child's age. Those younger than two should be in a rear-facing safety seat.

But even though you should follow general guidelines, there is still no black and white answer for how to install a safety seat.

"Every child seat is going to be different. Every child's going to be different,” said Hicks. “We can't sit here and give you a definitive answer on which child seat is the best for your child and your car. Basically, you've got to find the car seat that fits your child, find a car seat that's going to fit your car, and one that you're going to use correctly each and every time."

Authorities also want to remind parents that putting your child in a safety seat is not an option; it's a law in Pennsylvania. Anyone in a vehicle under the age of eight must be in a safety or booster seat.

Child Safety Seat Resources:

Click on the “public safety tab” at www.psp.state.pa.us If you want a technician at Pennsylvania State Police to check your safety seat, you can call your local police barracks to schedule and appointment.

Safe Kids Worldwide: www.safekids.org

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://www.nhtsa.gov/

Meritus Medical Center offers free safety seat checks the second Wednesday of every month.

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