The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders announces free child safety seat inspection opportunities in Scotch Plains and Plainfield this weekend and the next.

The proper use of child safety seats is one of the simplest and most effective methods available for protecting the lives of young children in the event of a motor vehicle accident.

Union County’s mobile child seat inspection unit will offer child safety seat inspections at the Scotch Plains Health Fair on Saturday, October 3 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. located at 430 Park Avenue in Scotch Plains. Inspection services will also be offered on Saturday October 10 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Plainfield Fire Department located at 200 block of North Avenue in Plainfield.

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“With the new State law that took effect on September first, this program offers parents and guardians an opportunity to make sure their child’s safety seat is properly adjusted and meets the law’s requirements,” said Union County Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh. “The County’s mobile unit gives residents throughout the county a more convenient opportunity to have our experts help them get familiar with a new seat, or spot any problems with an older seat.”

The new State law requires parents to adhere to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations for child passenger safety.

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 weighting less than 30 pounds must be secured in a rear-facing child safety seat that is equipped with five-point harness.

Children between ages 2-4 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 4-8 and less than 57 inches tall (4’9”) 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 is the back seat.

In addition to the aforementioned mobile events, Union County’s popular Child Safety Seat Inspection Program is open every Wednesday and Thursday throughout the year from 7:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at the Garwood Rescue Squad at 401 2nd Avenue in Garwood.

This is an indoor location, so County residents may come to have their safety seats checked even during inclement weather.

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, even though most users are confident that they know the correct procedure.

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 about Union County’s Child Safety Seat Inspection Program visit ucnj.org or call 908-789-6830.

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