Do you have a child under the age of two? Odds are you restrain them in a car seat while driving, but what direction do they face? If they face forward, you may be affected by a new law that could go into effect soon in the state of New York.
A 2007 study by the University of Virginia found that a forward-facing seat was 75 percent more likely to cause an injury to a child under the age of two during a car accident. The American Academy of Pediatrics echoed this sentiment, stating that a forward facing seat does not properly support an infant or toddler’s relatively large head during a crash, resulting in a lot of independent movement on a relatively small neck.
As a result, a new proposed piece of legislation would require all children under the age of two to travel in a rear-facing car seat unless they meet certain weight and height requirements listed by the manufacturer of the child’s car seat. If the child surpasses these requirements, they would be allowed to sit facing forward. Lawmakers hope that the change would help combat these injuries, which are the leading cause of death for young children.
Previously, the law only required that children under the age of four be restrained in an appropriate child car seat unless they were over the age of four or exceeded forty pounds. The proposed amendment keeps this provision in place while also mandating the additional requirements for a rear-facing child seat for passengers under the age of two.
The penalties for failing to follow this new law have not yet been decided, but it’s presumed that parents who fail to follow this law will face a fine and be required to purchase a new rear-facing seat as soon as possible, similar to a fix-it ticket.
If signed into law by Governor Cuomo, the law would become effective on November 1, 2019. This would provide parents ample time to learn about the law and adjust their purchasing decisions accordingly.
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