Three police officers spent over an hour fitting three child safety seats into John McHutchison’s vehicle at the Fred Beans Chevrolet Buick dealership parking lot on a Monday afternoon this spring. As a test of patience and knowledge, few adults could have passed. It makes you wonder how many parents, grandparents and childcare workers routinely drive around with precious “live cargo” incorrectly secured—knowingly or unknowingly.
Fortunately, the experts were on hand on this day to see that all the latches were properly latched, anchors appropriately attached and straps slipped through the right slots. Pennsylvania State Troopers Randy Heckman and Matt Lopresto, Trevose Barracks, Plumstead Township Police Officer Tom Rutecki and Buckingham Police clerk Lynn Crawford climbed in, around, over and through car after car for about 4 hours, showing parents how to install no fewer than 25 child safety seats of all makes and styles.
Doylestown Borough resident and mom Nadia Penza was delighted and grateful for the assistance. She and her husband, Angelo, watched carefully as Crawford fit their backseat with a child carrier that will face backwards for the first months after their new baby is born. Not until the child is a certain weight can he or she be secured safely in a forward-facing car seat.
Fred Beans dealerships arrange with local police departments to run such safety checks several times through the year. In addition, most local departments provide car seat safety checks of their own: 1-800.CAR BELT has a listing of Police Departments and special events. The state police hold a monthly program at Trevose Barracks: call 215.942.3900 for an appointment on the second Monday of each month or, in an emergency, at any other time. Call Plumstead Township
at 215.766.8741 to schedule a seat check, or Buckingham Township residents can call their police department at 215.794.8812 for an appointment.
State Trooper Randy Heckman, Trevose Barracks (left), and Plumstead Township Officer Tom Rutecki work in tight quarters on the third of Plumstead Township resident John McHutchison’s child safety seats at the Fred Beans Chevrolet Buick Car Seat Check event.