Child Seat Inspections

by PO Scott Petrie

The New Milford Police Department is pleased to offer free Child Seat Inspections to any parent, grandparent or caregiver of a child who resides in New Milford. If you wish to have your seat inspected, contact either PO Nicholas DiGenio or PO Scott Petrie at the following phone number:

201-261-1400 option# 1

Please make an appointment before you come to the department because the Officers are actively patrolling the Borough and may not be available for an inspection. If possible, bring your child with you, well fed and well rested. An inspection can take anywhere from a few minutes to over an hour depending on your needs.

For expectant Mothers or Fathers, have your seat installed and ready to go at least two weeks before your due date or scheduled C-Section date. Hospitals will not discharge any newborn without a car seat!

Please remember that the New Milford Police Department offers free inspections, not installations. You are expected to participate in the installation and are ultimately responsible for your child, the car seat, and its proper use.

It is important that every child is properly restrained at all times while in a vehicle. New Jersey State law mandates that any child who is under 80 lbs or under 8 years of age use a child restraint system. There are many choices in restraint systems and it is up to the parent to select one that is appropriate for both their child and their vehicle. While we do not recommend any one seat over another, we are happy to offer you these following guidelines while selecting and using a child restraint system:

For Children under 1 year of age:

• All children under 1 year of age must be rear facing!!!

• Whenever possible, the child should be placed in the middle of the rear seat.

• Both bucket systems and convertible seats are appropriate for a child under 1 year of age.

• When using a bucket system, make sure your child is within the height and weight limits of the seat. This information can be found on the labels on the seat and in the owner manual.

• Make sure the shoulder harness is at or below your child’s shoulder when rear facing.

• Make sure the retaining clip is at armpit level and the harness is snug against your child.

• DO NOT PLACE ANY AFTERMARKET PRODUCT ON OR AROUND YOUR CHILD’S CAR SEAT. The use of mirrors, hanging toys, or sheep skin liners, may harm your child or interfere with the function of the car seat during an accident.

• Avoid using bulky clothing, jackets or blankets while your child is in the car seat. The added bulk may interfere with the function of the harness. During the colder months, a nice warm blanket should be used to take the child from the house to the car and then placed over the child after they are secured in the seat.

• Again, all children under 1 year of age must be rear facing!


For Toddlers 1 year to 40lbs:

• Toddlers 1 year old may still use a bucket system forward facing if they still fall within the height and weight limits of the system. This information can be found on the labels on the seat and in the owner manual.

• A toddler who exceeds the height and weight limits of the bucket system must use either a high back booster or a convertible seat with a 5 point harness system.

• The harness should be at or above your child’s shoulder when forward facing.

• Make sure the retaining clip is at armpit level and the harness is snug against your child.

• DO NOT PLACE ANY AFTERMARKET PRODUCT ON OR AROUND YOUR CHILD’S CAR SEAT. The use of mirrors, entertainment trays, or window screens may harm your child or interfere with the function of the car seat during an accident.

• Avoid using bulky clothing or bulky jackets when your child is in a car seat. The added bulk may interfere with the function of the harness. Dress your child in layers and use a thinner jacket.

• Once your child begins to approach 40 lbs, (37lbs and above) they should use the vehicle’s belt in place of the 5 point harness. The weight limit of the harness can be found on the seat labels and in the owner manual.

• Your child’s head should not come above the top of the child seat. The height limit of the seat can be found on the seat labels and in the owner manual.

For Children over 40 lbs but under 80 lbs or 8 years old:

• A child over 40 lbs may use a convertible seat with the vehicle belt system as long as they fall within the height and weight limits of the seat. This information can be found on the seat labels and in the owner manual.

• A child over 40 lbs may use a belt positioning booster seat with the vehicle belt system.

• Make sure the belt is positioned correctly on your child. It should be across the shoulder and chest and across the hips of your child. A belt should never be across your child’s neck!

• A backless booster is safe to use as long as your child falls with in the height and weight limit of the booster. Again, the belt should never be across the child’s neck.

For Children over 80 lbs or 8 years old:

A child may use the vehicle safety belt system under the follow conditions:

• Your child’s leg must be able to bend at a 90 degree angle over the vehicle seat while their back is flat against the back of the seat.

• The belt should come over the center of the shoulder and through the middle of the chest.

• The lap belt should be over the hips and thighs.

• If your child does not meet the above requirement, they should use either a belt positioning booster seat or a convertible seat with a higher weight limit.

• Every child should use a safety belt in every seat position until they are 18 years old.

General Guidelines:

• Every person should use a safety belt regardless of age or seat position.

• No child in a child seat should sit in front of an airbag.

• Be a good role model—always wear your seat belt. This will help your child form a lifelong habit of buckling up.

• Remember that each car safety seat is different. Read and keep the instructions that came with your seat handy, and follow them at all times

• Keep the interior compartment of a vehicle free of loose items or unsecured items. Loose items can become deadly projectiles during an accident. This includes people.

• Child seats should not be used after 5 years of its manufactured date. This date can be found on the seat label.

• No child seat should be used after it has been involved in an accident.

• Know the complete history of any used car seat that you install in your car.

• When installing a car seat, use either the vehicle safety belt system of the car seat LATCH system. Never use both together.

• Know the weight limit of the LATCH system of your car seat. Most LATCH systems cannot be used after your child reaches or exceeds 60 lbs.

• Remember that car seats are intended to lessen the damage caused by an accident. No seat can 100% protect your child from an injury during an accident.

• Submit any registration cards that may come with your car seat. This will allow you to receive important recall materials if needed.

• If you find a problem with you car seat, immediately contact the manufacturer. The phone number for the manufacturer can be found either on the seat labels or in the owner manual.

If the PO DiGenio or PO Petrie are not available and you need an inspection, the Union County Police Department offers a free child seat inspection station every Wednesday and Thursday from 7:30 AM to 10:30 AM. You can visit their website for more information and for directions.

www.unioncountynj.org/police/kidseat.html



Child Seat Recalls

It is important to know if your car seat is on a recall list. Every seat on a recall list can be found at the following websites.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

1-888-327-4236

www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/childseat.cfm

The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

1-800-672-4527

www.hsrc.unc.edu/safety_info/child_passenger_safety/child_restraint_recalls.cfm



Other Resources:

For a list of list of child seat manufacturers:

www.cpsboard.org/childmanu.htm

SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. is the national, non-profit organization dedicated to child passenger safety. Their mission is to help reduce the number of serious and fatal traffic injuries suffered by children by promoting the correct, consistent use of safety seats and safety belts.

www.carseat.org

American Association of Pediatrics

The AAP offer a similar car seat guide as above. They also answer some specific problems such as transporting premature babies of children with special needs.

www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm

National Center for the Safe Transportation of Children with Special Health Care Needs 1-800/620-0143

www.preventinjury.org.

For more information and a list of car safety seats available for children with special needs, visit www.aap.org/healthtopics/carseatsafety.cfm.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

An independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries, and property damage — from crashes on the nation's highways.

www.iihs.org


Remember that properly securing your child is the law! It does not matter who you are, where you live, how you drive, or what kind of car you drive, seat belts save lives and child seats save children’s lives.


 

09-25-08