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Fire and Rescue
Prince William County Fire and Rescue to Hold National Child Seat Check Week
Certified technicians will help parents and caregivers
check car seats for proper installation
Prince William County Department of Fire & Rescue will conduct a “National Seat Check Week” event on September 20th at Renaissance Montessori School, 8730 Sudley Road, Manassas, VA 20110.  Certified child passenger safety technicians will be on hand from Noon till 4:00 PM to check car seats for proper installation and advise parents and caregivers how to choose the right car seats and install them properly in their vehicles.  The event, part of the Department’s participation in Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 16-22), is free to the public.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13.  Crash data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2010 shows that about 2 children, 12 or younger, were killed and 325 were injured each day in passenger vehicles.  Last year, Prince William County child seat technicians checked over 1400 child seats in fire stations and events across the region.  Over 90% of these child seats checked were incorrectly installed or were the incorrect seat for the child.
 “You can never predict or control what other drivers might do or how the weather might change the safety of a roadway,” said Chief Kevin McGee, Department of Fire & Rescue. “The best way to protect your kids is to put them in the right car seats for their age and size and use those seats correctly on every trip, every time. By coming to one of our fire stations for a car seat inspection during National Child Passenger Safety Week, or any weekday, parents and caregivers can be sure their kids are riding as safely as possible.”
Chief McGee also urged parents to follow NHTSA’s car seat recommendations that recommend parents and caregivers keep children in their restraint types for as long as possible according to manufacturer instructions before moving them to the next type.
For maximum safety, a parent or caregiver should have the car seat installation inspected by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician to ensure their children are in the right seats for their age and size.  Children 12 and under should always ride in the back seat.
Birth – 12 months
For the best possible protection, your child under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat. There are different types of rear-facing car seats: infant-only seats can only be used rear-facing. Convertible and 3-in-1 car seats typically have higher height and weight limits for the rear-facing position allowing you to keep your child rear-facing for a longer period of time.
1 – 3 years
Your child should remain in a rear-facing car seat until the child reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. This may result in many children riding rear-facing to age 2 or older. Once your child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, your child is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness.
4 – 7 years
Keep your child in a forward-facing car seat with a harness until the child reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer. Once your child outgrows the forward-facing car seat with a harness, it’s time to travel in a booster seat, but still in the back seat.
8 – 12 years 
Keep your child in a booster seat until the child is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face.
  • Select a car seat based on your child’s age and size, choose a seat that fits in your vehicle, and use it on every trip, 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.        


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