On Oct. 1 Connecticut’s new car seat law will go into effect, keeping children in car seats for a year or two longer than the previous law.
The law affects children from infancy all the way up to 8-years-old. Under the new law, children are required to stay in rear-facing seats until they are 2-years-old and weigh 30 pounds. That’s up from the previous law, which allowed forward-facing seats for children 1-year-old and at least 20 pounds.
It also requires children to be 5-years-old and weigh 40 pounds in order to move into a booster seat, and children must stay in booster seats until they are at least 8-years-old and 60 pounds.
“It puts what's best practice and has been for years into law so people might take it a little more seriously,” said Joy Morin, who has a young daughter.
The American Academy of Pediatrics first recommended the changes in 2011. Experts have found a child’s neck isn’t strong enough to handle impact until they are at least 2-years-old.
The purpose of the new law is so that this part of the seatbelt actually comes across a child’s chest instead of up against the neck so in the event of a crash, it does its job and protects them.
Some people will need more convincing – critics say the law is another example of big government in Connecticut, and for parents who got rid of their car seats, it could add another cost burden.
“For those who can't afford it, both Connecticut Children's Medical Center and our partners down at Yale-New Haven children's hospital have programs to provide free seats to parents who can't afford them,” said Kevin Borrup of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
The first violation warrants and infraction – police can fine caregivers up to $199 for the second strike.
For more information on obtaining a free car seat, click here.