The new law requires children younger than age two to be secured in a car seat facing the rear of the vehicle until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the car seat manufacturer. Rear-facing car seats distribute the impact of a crash more equally, which better protects kids. Children younger than two are five times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a car crash if they are in a front-facing car seat, rather than rear-facing. The new law took effect on August 12. Law enforcement will issue verbal warnings to drivers in violation of the rear-facing requirement for the first year, with fines following in the years after.
Here's How New Law Affects Your Child in the Car
Suzanne Burt' s 9-year-old daughter sat in a car seat facing backward until she was 1. It was a best practice then, but times have changed and so has the law. Burt's son, Charlie, is 15 months old, and she plans to keep his car seat facing backwards until he's at least 2 years old, something that's now required by law. Law or no law, research shows that's the safest thing for kids, Burt said. It's not worth turning Charlie around sooner just so he doesn't have to bend his legs. "Even if you're the safest driver in the world, it just takes one person … to ram into you," said Burt, of Spring Garden Township.
On August 12, a new law took effect in Pennsylvania that requires children younger than 2 to be in rear-facing car seats until they max out the weight and height limits designated by the manufacturer. A few years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated guidance on child car seats, recommending that children remain rear-facing until age 2 or until they hit the maximum limits of the seat. Pennsylvania is the fourth state to require it. The first year, violators will get a warning and after that, there's a $125 fine.
Imagine a World Where Every Kid Is a Safe Kid