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AAA: New York's insufficient child passenger safety laws put kids at risk

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Mon, Jun 5th 2017 02:35 pm
AAA analysis finds 1-year-olds injured once a day on New York roads
Outdated car seat laws in New York put young children at risk of injury, according to a new analysis by AAA New York State. From 2011-15, a 1-year-old child was injured in a traffic crash in New York once per day, on average - equivalent to 1,896 injuries over the five-year-period.
 
"Far too often, the victims of dangerous driving are infants and toddlers," said Alec Slatky, legislative analyst for AAA New York State. "Policymakers must ensure that laws are in place to protect the most vulnerable passengers."
 
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are 2 years old. One-year-olds are five times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash if they ride in a forward-facing seat than if they ride in a rear-facing seat. However, most 1-year-olds are "prematurely graduated" to forward-facing seats, and New York law requires children to be in a car seat until they are 4 years old without distinguishing between rear-facing and forward-facing seats.
 
"Children should ride rear-facing as long as safely possible, and at least until age 2," Slatky said. "It's time for New York's vehicle and traffic law to catch up to current best practices."
 
New York State Sen. Joseph Robach and Assemblymember Sandy Galef have recently introduced legislation that would require rear-seat passengers under 2 years old to be restrained in a rear-facing car seat until they exceed the weight or height limit of the seat as set by the manufacturer.
 
AAA strongly supports this proposal.
 
New York drivers favor such a law, as well. In a recent AAA survey, 63 percent of respondents supported a rear-facing car seat law, while only 13 percent opposed it.
 
Police officers will be able to enforce this law. In 2015, officers issued 8,695 tickets to drivers for violations of the car seat law - equivalent to one summons every hour, on average. Drivers who receive a ticket can have their fine waived if they purchase an appropriate car seat before their court date.
 
AAA New York State is a federation of four New York AAA clubs. Collectively, these clubs serve over 2.7 million AAA members residing in New York.
 
Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the internet at www.AAA.com.

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