Free inspections available as child seat law changes

UNION COUNTY, NJ — The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders announces free child safety-seat inspection opportunities as new state law takes effect.

New Jersey’s new child safety-seat regulation took effect Sept. 1 and requires parents to adhere to American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for child passenger safety. The proper use of child safety seats is one of the most effective methods available for protecting the lives of young children in the event of a motor vehicle accident.

Union County’s Child Safety Seat Inspection Program is open every Wednesday and Thursday from 7:30 until 11:00 a.m. at 401 2nd Ave. in Garwood.

On Saturday, Sept. 19, as part of “National Seat Check Saturday,” trained technicians will conduct child seat inspections at the Babies ‘R’ Us on Rt. 22 in Union, sponsored in part by AAA Northeast – NJ Division.

Certified child passenger safety technicians will check the car seat for proper installation and educate parents and guardians on using the seat correctly.

Under the new child passenger safety law:
• Children under age 2 and weighing less than 30 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing child safety seat that is equipped with five-point harness.
• Children between ages 2 to 4 and weighing up to 40 pounds must be secured in a child safety seat equipped with a five-point harness, either rear-facing — up to the height and weight limits of the seat — or forward–facing.
• Children between ages 4 and 8 and less than 57 inches tall must be secured in a forward-facing seat equipped with a five-point harness — up to the height and weight limits of the seat — or in a booster seat.
• Children ages 8 and older must use the vehicle seat belt. The safest place for children under 13 years old is the back seat.
Union County first launched the Child Safety Seat Inspection Program in 1999, in response to surveys showing that the overwhelming majority of child safety seats are improperly installed. Since 1999, approximately 50,000 Union County residents and visitors have used the Seat Inspection Program. It is staffed by personnel from the county’s Department of Public Safety, who are certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and by the organization SafeKids.

The program is credited with saving at least one life, when a toddler survived a 2008 vehicle rollover shortly after the seat was properly adjusted by county personnel.

The child seat-inspection program is provided as a public service by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Union County Police Department, New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, AAA Northeast – NJ Division, and the Garwood First Aid Squad.

For more information, visit ucnj.org or call 908-789-6830.

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