Although it’s recommended you keep your child in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible, it’s not actually required by PA state law. Pennsylvania requires that all children under the age of four be properly restrained in an approved car seat in the front or back of a car, but it does not specify which direction the seat faces.
House Bill 1551, which was referred to the House Transportation Committee on September 29, 2015, would require all children under one year of age be secured in a rear-facing safety seat, and AAA is voicing its strong support in hopes that the legislation will be reviewed soon.
Child Safety Guidelines
Child restraint guidelines made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend that children remain rear-facing until they weigh at least 20 pounds and are at least one year old to prevent injury in a crash. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), all infants and toddlers should ride in a rear facing car seat until they are at least two years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car seat’s manufacturer.
“Numerous studies confirm that children are safer in rear-facing car seats, as they do a better job protecting the head, neck and spine of an infant during the impact of a crash,” said Jana L. Tidwell, Manager of public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Crashes are often outside parents’ control, however, properly securing a small child in a vehicle should be a parent’s number one priority. Therefore AAA strongly encourages the Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee to amend HB 1551 to correspond with guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, rear facing until children are two years old, the safest way to transport a child.”
Although car seats have been around for years, evidence shows that many of us still aren’t using them properly. In fact, up to 75% of car seats may be installed improperly. For more information and tips on installing your car seat, check out a previous blog post.