BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Parents and caregivers could be putting small children at risk when it comes to using car seats, and part of that is because of what AAA describes as outdated car seat laws in the state of New York.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children ride in a rear-facing car seats until they are 2 years old, because forward-facing seats don’t provide enough protection for especially young children. And in the event of a crash, the violent push forward can be deadly.
Although New York state laws require children to be in car seats until they’re 4 years old, state law does not distinguish between forward-facing and rear-facing seats.
That’s a big problem, according to AAA, which says the lack of a law leaves parents unaware, and it leaves children exposed to sometimes fatal but avoidable results.
“A lot of times, parents will just say, ‘Oh, they’re a certain age, I think I’ll just switch them forward now,'” said Elizabeth Carey, public relations director for AAA Western and Central New York. “New York state doesn’t distinguish between the two. So you should really talk to your pediatrician, see what the pediatrician advises. But technically, the law in New York state should state they should stay rear-facing longer.”
Carey said 1-year-olds are “five times as likely to be injured in a crash if they’re forward facing versus rear facing, so that statistic alone will show you why the law is necessary.”
The proposed law would require rear-seat passengers younger than 2 to be restrained in a rear-facing car seat until they exceed the weight or height limits of the seat as set by the manufacturer.
The bill is still in the early stages in Albany. It’s not yet known when the legislature would make a move on it, but it’s not expected in the session that ends at the end of June.