As Chester County residents get out and about in the warmer weather, the best seat in the house—or in the car—for children is a car seat that fits the child and the vehicle – and that is installed correctly.
The Chester County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) offers free inspections of children’s car seats by appointment, to keep children safe as they travel. Inspections take place at the parking garage across from the Chester County Justice Center on Market Street in West Chester. To make an appointment, email [email protected] or call 610-344-6139.
According to safekids.org, road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States. Correctly used, child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent. More than half of car seats are not used or installed correctly.
Sgt. Matthew Tocydlowski and Deputy Suzanne Campos, certified technicians, conduct the inspections. They have approximately 25 years of experience installing and inspecting car seats.
The half-hour multi-step inspection undertaken by Sgt. Tocydlowski and Deputy Campos includes, in part, taking basic information about the car seat, vehicle, and age and weight of the child to determine their compatibility for safety. They inspect the owner’s safety seat for visible damage and proper installation. Their review covers demonstrating installation, observing the adult’s installation, and discussion of how the seat works, correct seat position in the vehicle, proper harness installation and additional information.
Car seat inspections aren’t just for first-time parents. Anyone who will transport a child in a car--grandparents, other family members, babysitters or child care providers—is welcome to schedule an appointment.
The CCSO cannot recommend brands or models, but buyers can be aware that all car seats sold in the United States must meet safety standards.
“The best car seat is one that is appropriate for the child’s age and weight, fits the vehicle, and is installed and used correctly,” said Chester County Sheriff Fredda Maddox.
“The free inspections are invaluable for ensuring children’s safety before a season of increased travel and summer vacations,” Maddox continued. “Safety and protection are our goals.”