PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The rules on child car seats in Pennsylvania are about to become stricter.
A new bill would require kids to ride in rear-facing seats until they’re 2-years-old.
The legislature has passed the bill, and a spokesperson for the governor says Gov. Tom Wolf will sign it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has been recommending this for nine years.
“We’ve been trying to convince parents this was a good thing to do,” said Kathy Strotmeyer from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“We want them to keep their child rear-facing until 2 for many reasons. Mainly to protect their head, neck and spinal cord,” said Strotmeyer.
The new law would require kids to ride in rear-facing car seats until age 2. However, kids who outgrow the height and weight requirements for a car seat would be exempt.
Happy Baby Company in Bellevue is among the places that sell car seats for children up to 50 pounds, and the owner feels strongly about this.
“I have a 7-year-old, a 4-year-old and actually one more on the way in November,” said owner Judy McAuley. “My 7-year-old, he rear faced since just past his fifth birthday. And my 4-year-old is still rear facing.”
Strotmeyer says the Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation is based on crash data.
She delivered a disturbing statistic, which she says speaks to why this law should be updated.
“A child riding front-facing between the ages of 1 and 2 is really five times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in the event of a crash,” she said.
Under the current state law, children under 4 must be in a car seat, but it doesn’t say which direction the seats must face.
This new law would take effect in 60 days.
Parents caught violating it would be given a warning for the first year.