If you’re a parent, your kids are your most precious cargo.
On Monday, Governor Wolf said it’s the responsibility of the public to protect young children.That’s why he signed a new bill into law, requiring children under two years old to sit in rear-facing car seats.
Between 75% and 90% of car seats checked by emergency responders are not installed correctly.
Gary Watters, Executive Director of Blair County AMED, said, “Car seats can be, I don’t want to say they can be kind of complicated, but they can be. They can be complicated to install.”
The consequences can be tragic. “Traumatic injuries because the child becomes a projectile with inside the vehicle or they become ejected from the vehicle. And that’s because the car seats are improperly installed or the child is not secured properly within the car seat.”
Their safety recommendations are in line with the new law: keep kids under two in rear-facing car seats.
PA State Trooper David McGarvey, said, “When they’re turned around and faced the front, there’s a lot of torque and a lot of motion going forward than can cause some injuries like whiplash type of injuries to the child.”
But this law isn’t popular among some parents who worry about the comfort of their child.
Holly Zerbe, who put her kids in front-facing car seats when they reached the correct weight limit, said, “If it’s the law, I would do what I had to do, but I feel like it wasn’t very comfortable for him. Even when he turned a year and he was over the weight limit for his smaller car seat, I felt like he was really crunched up in there.”
The law is based off of research done by the American Academy of Pediatrics. A 2007 study in the Journal of Injury Prevention showed that children under the age of two are 75% less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are riding in a rear-facing car seat.
“As an EMS provider, we’re going to advocate what’s safe for the child and rear-facing car seats are by far more safe than forward facing car seats. yes it is an inconvenience to have your kid in a rear-facing car seat, when in fact it is, and research shows, it is much more safe,” said Watters.
The new law will take effect in August.
Car seat checks offered at State Police Barracks:
Bedford — Troop G Bedford, 1st Tuesday
Blair — Troop G Hollidaysburg, 3rd Thursday
Cambria — Troop A Ebensburg, 3rd Wednesday
Centre — Troop G, Phillipsburg, 2nd Tuesday
Clearfield — Troop C, Clearfield, 3rd Wednesday
Clearfield — Troop C, Dubios, 3rd Wednesday
Elk — Troop C, Ridgway, 4th Friday
Huntingdon, Troop G, Huntingdon, 3rd Tuesday
Somerset — Troop A, 2nd Wednesday
Jefferson — Troop C, Punxsutawney, 1st Friday