Are you guys aware of the new car seat laws in PA? If not, read on… The new laws went into effect earlier this month. Now children under the age of 2 who haven’t outgrown manufacturers’ weight limits now will have to be buckled into an approved rear-facing child safety seat in the back seat, the result of legislation signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf.
Child restraint guidelines made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommend that young children should be in a rear-facing car seat until they weigh at least 20 pounds and are at least a year old. For more information on the car seat laws by state read more here. Here are several basic child safety seat recommendations, according to the Pa. Department of Transportation.
- Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, and choose a seat that fits in your vehicle and use it every time.
- Always refer to your specific car seat manufacturer’s instructions; read the vehicle owner’s manual on how to install the car seat using the seat belt or LATCH system; and check height and weight limits.
- To maximize safety, keep your child in the car seat for as long as possible, as long as the child fits within the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements.
- Keep your child in the back seat at least through age 12.
All of this is especially noteworthy to me since this summer, my family had not one but two car accidents in the span of less than a month. In both of these accidents my two girls (ages 8 and 6) were involved. Both of our family cars were hit in a span of less than 2 weeks. To say that these accidents were scary is an understatement. These accidents were terrifying and a true reminder of just how quickly things can happen and how important it is is to keep ourselves and our families as safe as possible in the car when we are on the road because you just never know what could happen or when a car accident could occur. In the first accident we were in bumper to bumper traffic heading down to the shore on the Atlantic City Expressway on July 4th weekend. In all the years I’ve been going back and forth to the shore this was the first time that I’ve ever been in an accident. And to have our family car be hit and my two daughters thrown around the backseat and even have a bloody cheek and pain from the impact was just a horrible and scary experience. The car who hit us from behind was completely totaled in the front and had to be towed away. This was a real moment of realization at just how quickly things can change in literally a blink.
And then, it happened again…
While we were still dealing with accident reports, figuring out our deductibles, and talking with insurance companies, it happened again. My husband was driving the girls to their first day of Girl Scouts Camp. The kids were so excited. And then while merging on to the onramp of a highway in pretty close and bumper to bumper traffic, they got hit from behind. (The other driver was putting on makeup while merging on to the highway. Putting. On. Her. Makeup.) Two accidents in one month. Thank goodness the girls were not hurt in this one. But really… What are the odds? In both accidents, I am just so grateful that my two beautiful babies were not badly hurt. But I was definitely rattled. How can we make 100% sure that our children are as safe as they can be when we’re out on the road?
So when I had an opportunity to attend a Safety 1st car safety check I was eager to go and check it out. I wanted to make sure that my two girls’ car seats were the safest they could possibly be. And boy am I glad that I attended. I wasn’t even thinking in the least that the car seats I was using might have actually been damaged by the impact of the recent car accidents. I was just sort of thinking, yeah, let’s just check things out and make sure they’re set up ok to be safe. The Safety 1st Air Protect Tour was held in King of Prussia in late July. As part of the Air Protect Tour, Safety 1st was offering car seat inspections with Child Passenger Safety Technicians. At the car seat inspection, I met with Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) instructor Daniel who talked to me about safe car seat installation and inspected my car and car seats. Turns out the car seat I was using for my youngest daughter was damaged by the impact of our first accident this summer and had to be disposed of and replaced immediately. Daniel spent a lot of time with me talking me through the safest way to have my children in the car, seat belt placement, and how to ensure car seats are safe. I highly recommend getting your car seats checked out if you haven’t done this. A CPST certified technician is really the only way to verify that your car seats are safely installed. And, trust me – this is something you don’t want to risk.
There is another Air Protect Tour event coming up this Saturday Sept. 24th from 10am – 1pm at the Babies“R”Us for National Car Seat Check Saturday if you can make it out! The Air Protect Tour event will be at Totowa Square Shopping Center, 465 Us Highway 46 West, Totowa, NJ 07512.
Safety 1st is a leading provider of child safety products from Dorel Juvenile, a segment of Dorel Industries Inc. Safety 1st offers a full range of child safety products from socket protectors to strollers, car seats, and more. Their newest car seat is the UltraMax™ AIR 360 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat ($259). This car seat is the only 4-in-1 car seat that features 360 Protect™ for 6 layers of proven safety, and it’s the only car seat you’ll need to buy for your baby as it adapts to keep them safe through four different stages of development. I got to try out the new UltraMax 360 car seat so I’ll be sharing my review of it in an upcoming blog post along with your chance to win an UltraMax 360 car seat of your own! Stay tuned…
If you are unsure whether your car seats are safely installed, you can find a local car seat inspection station here. Please be safe everyone!!
Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Safety 1st. We received products and/or compensation in exchange for sharing this information with phillyfun4kids readers. As always, all opinions expressed about how critical it is to understand proper car seat installation and car seat laws in your state to ensure the safety of your precious passengers are our own.