WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Many families have the car already packed and are headed out for some fourth of July fun. But safety experts say there’s an important task they may be overlooking. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains that it all has to do with keeping your most precious cargo properly protected.
You’ve checked under the hood of your SUV or passenger car and it looks like everything’s good to go for your summer getaway. But inside the vehicle is where something designed to protect your children may actually leave them vulnerable. “It makes me feel better to get it checked periodically,” said Elizabeth Tigue of Nanticoke. She brought her SUV to AAA Wilkes-Barre Store on Tuesday for a free inspection of the child safety seat that holds her 16-month-old son Christopher in the back seat.
Running down a car seat checklist with dozens of questions, AAA Mid-Atlantic Traffic Safety Community Educator Andreea Higdon made sure Christopher’s rear-facing seat met the required standards. Sometimes seats like his just need some tightening. Ms. Higdon said, “You grab the car seat at the belt pass so wherever you’re putting it through and attaching it to your car, you’re going to grab it and shake it side to side. If it moves more than an inch it needs to be reinstalled.” Ms. Tigue added, “I noticed that our seat was loose recently so I had to reinstall it and that’s why we are here today because I wanted to make sure that I reinstalled it correctly.”
A child car seat properly installed will cradle and move with your child in a crash, reducing stress to their neck and spine. The sad truth is roughly three out of every four child car seats are improperly installed. State police have seen what happens when children aren’t restrained the right way. PSP Troop P Wyoming Trooper Deanna Piekanski said, “If you suddenly have to put your brakes on and the child can go flying up to the front of the vehicle or the back of the vehicle.” Ms. Tigue said, “That’s very tragic and I do feel better knowing that our car seat is installed and I try to do my best to make sure that we do get it checked as often as we can.” It can also provide peace of mind when it’s time to hit the road.