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New lifesaving law requires rear-facing child seats in New York

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Fri, Nov 1st 2019 07:00 am

New York joins NJ & CT in requiring children to remain in rear-facing car seats to age 2

By AAA of Western and Central New York

A new law goes into effect in New York on Nov. 1 that requires parents to keep infants and young toddlers in rear-facing child safety seats until they are at least 2 years old, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for the seat being used. The new law falls in line with updated recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“A rear-facing seat provides increased support for the very vulnerable and still-developing head, neck and back of young children,” said Elizabeth Carey, director of public relations at AAA Western and Central New York.

New York data demonstrates the need for parents to obey the new law. From 2011-15, 1,896 1-year-olds were seriously injured in car crashes, with 25% in no restraint at all. Tragically, 69 1-year-olds died in crashes during the same time frame, one-third in no restraint. From 2014-17, police in New York issued more than 27,000 tickets for child seat violations.

With so many youngsters in safety seats injured and killed, proper seat installation is critical. A Parents magazine article in May cited reports that show as many as 95% of families install their newborn’s car seat incorrectly. The training for a child safety seat technician, those who teach proper seat installation, is 30 hours long and has a 359-page manual. With most parents never bothering to read a safety seat’s instruction booklet, many seats are improperly installed, compromising the safety of millions of infants and toddlers.

New York’s new law goes into effect Friday, but other states already have the law, including New Jersey and Connecticut, meaning parents with children driving to or through the Garden and Constitution states must have rear-facing seats. Additional states with the law include Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, California, Oklahoma and Oregon.

Parents in New York can arrange for a child safety seat technician to inspect their seat installation by clicking here. Most manufacturers also have online videos demonstrating proper installation of their seats. These may be easier to understand than instruction manuals.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 880,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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