FREMONT – Parents be aware: there are new car seat laws coming to Nebraska next year.
The child restraint new law goes into effect on January 1, 2019, and will require children to ride rear-facing until they are 2 years old. Older children will also be required to ride in an appropriate seat, such as a booster, until they are 8. Children aged 8-18 must be buckled into a safety belt for all car trips.
Some parents have expressed concerns about their child’s comfort when riding rear-facing. “The answer is that the child will cross their legs, bend their knees, or otherwise adjust,” according to Nikki Pearce, from the Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership, or NENCAP. “Remember the child has never ridden any other way and therefore doesn’t know anything different.”
Riding rear-facing allows the car seat to absorb most of the crash forces in the event of a crash. Road injuries are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States. Evidence supports keeping children rear-facing as long as possible, in an effort to prevent those injuries and deaths.
Older children will need booster seats, the purpose of a which is to help the vehicle’s seat belt fit the child properly. Sometimes, smaller children may need to continue to sit in a booster after the age of 8. “When a child can sit comfortably with their back against the seat, their knees bent over the edge of the seat and the shoulder belt lies between their neck and shoulder, he or she is probably okay to ride with just the vehicle’s seat belt,” said Pearce.
For more information about car seat safety, you can contact Three Rivers Health Department in Fremont, Northeast Nebraska Community Action at 402-385-6300 or go online to www.safekids.org.