Rear-facing car seat law begins in New York State

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Parents now have to put their children under two in rear-facing car seats. This used to be just a recommendation but it’s now a requirement in New York State.

We all know car seats save children’s lives, but the new rear-facing car seat law strengthens safety on a new level.

“The child’s whole head neck, spine, and back is protected by the shell of the car seat. Any crash forces are going to be put onto the shell of the car seat and not onto the child’s body,” said Jean Triest from the Monroe County Office of Traffic Safety.

Triest said in order for the car seat to do its job it needs to be installed properly. Unfortunately, New York State has a 92 percent car seat misuse rate, which is higher than the national average.

“When a child faces the rear of the vehicle, the harnesses need to be in a slot that’s at or below the child’s shoulder and how we check for snugness on the harnesses is at the shoulder if we can’t pinch any of the webbings if our fingers just glide, then those harnesses are snug enough,” said Triest.

When putting the seat in, it’s normal for there to be some movement up at the top, but down at the belt path, it should stay in place if you try to move it.

Triest said some people worry their children are uncomfortable if their feet are hanging over. She said this is actually normal.

“Children are much more flexible than we are. A lot of times they might flip their legs over the side, they might go criss-cross applesauce.”

Triest recommends a convertible seat. She said they can switch between rear-facing and front-facing.

Several local fire and police departments have car seat checks.

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