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Safe Kids Blair County to offer car seat inspections

Safe Kids Blair County is holding car seat inspections and safety belt fit tests on Friday, Feb. 17, at Team Chevrolet in Huntingdon and Saturday, Feb. 18, at Stocker Chevrolet in State College in observance of Child Passenger Safety Week.
Team Chevrolet is along Route 22, Huntingdon. Inspections will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on a drop-in basis. Stocker Chevrolet is along Benner Pike, State College. Inspections will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on a drop-in basis.
These are two of more than 200 Child Passenger Safety Week events at Chevy and GM dealerships across the country where certified CPS technicians will teach parents and caregivers to install and adjust their car seats properly and to determine when an older child is ready to graduate from a booster seat to adult safety belts.
Altoona Regional is the lead agency of the local Safe Kids chapter, which is dedicated to the prevention of accidental childhood injuries. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of children ages 3-14.
\”Child passenger safety is not just about babies and toddlers. It\’s a commitment that lasts a lifetime,\” said Sherry Turchetta, Safe Kids Blair County coordinator. \”Too many kids move from a booster seat to a safety belt before they\’re big enough.\”
Infants and toddlers ride in safety restraints more than 90 percent of the time, but children ages 4-7 ride in safety restraints only 73 percent of the time.
\”That\’s an alarming difference, and it shows that many parents and caregivers are unaware of the importance of booster seats,\” Turchetta said.
Kids who have outgrown car seats (usually 40 pounds, but some car seats are rated for 60 pounds or more) are safer and more comfortable in a booster seat until they are 4\’9\” (57\”) tall and 80 to 100 pounds – a height and weight most kids reach between ages 8-12.
\”Comfort is a factor in safety,\” Turchetta said. \”Kids who can\’t sit comfortably on an adult seat are likely to slouch or squirm and move out of a safe position. That\’s when adult safety belts may fail to offer full protection to a small child.\”
A booster seat positions the adult safety belt correctly and helps a child see out the window.
\”You\’ll be able to see for yourself whether your child is big enough to be safe in an adult safety belt,\” she said. \”Whether you bring your child to one of our checkup events to be weighed and measured and take the Safety Belt Fit Test, or learn the test and perform it at home, you can actually see whether the adult safety belt protects your child better than a booster seat.\”
State and local police are expected to join Turchetta at the Child Passenger Safety Week events.
During CPS Week, Safe Kids Worldwide is unveiling a new Parent Toolkit to help educate kids, parents and other caregivers about the importance of booster seats. The kit includes:
• The Safety Belt Fit Test
• Q&A for kids talking to other kids about booster seats
• Carpool safety checklists and guidelines for starting a safe carpool
Safe Kids Blair County will provide a training session for parents of booster-age children in the Altoona area. Safe Kids Blair County provides car seat inspections monthly throughout the year as well. To find an inspection site or certified technician near you, call 814-889-7802. Visit www.usa.safekids.org for more information about child passenger safety, including a Parent Toolkit.
Safe Kids Blair County works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Safe Kids Blair County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Blair County was founded in 1991.
Safe Kids Buckle Up is a national program developed by Safe Kids Worldwide and sponsored by Chevrolet and General Motors to educate parents and caregivers about the importance of properly restraining children on every ride.
The 10-year-old program has:
• Inspected nearly 700,000 car seats
• Held more than 15,000 car seat checkup events around the country
• Donated more than 300,000 car seats to low-income families
• Given hands-on training to more than 9 million parents and caregivers
• Launched 119 Mobile Car Seat Check Up Vans – Chevy Express and Chevy Venture vans stocked with supplies and equipment to hold car seat inspections in underserved communities.