CALIFORNIA—A new child safety law issued by the state of California went into effect in January 2017. The new law makes it mandatory for all kids under the age of 2 to be buckled up in rear-facing car seats.
Previous child safety car laws required all kids under the age of 8 years-old to sit in booster seats, securely fastened with seat belts. Assembly Bill No. 53 makes it mandatory for all kids under the age of 2 to be seated in rear-facing car seats.
The author of the bill Cristina Garcia, cites a high number of motor vehicle crashes that have resulted in the deaths of over 1000 kids between the ages of 1 to 12 each year, as the reason for passing the bill. According to Garcia, studies show that almost 75 percent of parents turn car seats to face forward sooner than recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians.
“A rear-facing child safety seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body,” said Dennis Durbin, MD, FAAP to aap.org.
A violation of the new law can result in a fine of $100 for first offense and $250 for subsequent offenses. The California Department of Motor Vehicle is required to prepare and disseminate educational materials related to passenger restraint requirements for infants and children under the age of 15. The bill has received support from companies like AAA Northern California, American Medical Response, California Association Of Highway Patrolmen.