New York changes child car seat law

wwny New York changes child car seat law

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It's your responsibility to buckle up kids in the car, but are you doing it right? There's a change in a state law as New York looks out for its youngest passengers.

Wenda March of Watertown watches her grandson, Wyatt, every Wednesday.

She knows it's her responsibility to make sure he's safely buckled in when they drive.

"We're here to protect our children. They don't know the difference," she said.

Now, the state is stepping in to make sure infants are protected.

"New York state decided to update its car seat laws based on a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics and that is for children up to age two to stay in rear-facing seats while in the car," said Healthy Families Jefferson County Program Manager Joe Pate.

The law took effect this month.

Pate says in an accident rear-facing seats take the blow for the child.

"The car seat absorbs the impact of the crash. So, the neck, and the spine, and the head is more supported," he said.

Although March believes in the law, Wyatt's growth is making it hard to have him sit backward.

"He won't be two until April. And now, his feet are up against the seat. So, he's tall and he's heavy. So, it's a challenge to get him inside the seats these days," she said.

According to officials with the state's Department of Motor Vehicles, the law doesn't require keeping kids rear-facing if they outgrow their infant only seat before their second birthday. But, Stephanie Gillette with Healthy Families Jefferson County says kids should sit backwards for as long as possible.

"Really, safety-wise that child should be rear-facing until they're two, or even older, depending on their height and weight," she said.

Gillette is also a car seat technician.

She says there are seats that make it easier to keep a child rear-facing until they're ready to be turned around.

"The convertible seat can grow with the child. So, you're able to take some of the cushions or the pads out as they get bigger," she said.

All in effort to protect those who can’t protect themselves.

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