Connecticut's new child safety seat law goes into effect in just 10 days and advocates want to make sure parents and grandparents know the new car seat rules.
"I find it with my own kids, as they hit kindergarten and first grade, almost all of their friends were not in booster seats and for my kids it was a big struggle, why do they not have to be in booster seats and I do. Seat belts are made for adults, not for kids,” said Dr. Shannon Martinello, a pediatrician and a mother of four.
She said the state's new car seat safety law will save lives.
On Thursday morning, as part of National Child Passenger Safety Week, child safety advocates, police, and AAA teamed up to get the word out on the new requirements.
"It doesn't matter how heavy your child is, as long as they don't outgrow the weight limit on their rear-facing convertible car seat, you're good keeping them rear facing and it’s so much safer,” said Diana Imondi of AAA.
Now, all children under 2 years old and under 30 pounds must be in rear-facing car seats.
When it comes to booster seats, children must remain in one until they are at least 8 years old and 60 pounds.Those caught not following the new law will get a fine and have to attend a two-hour educational car seat class with the Department of Motor vehicles.
"A child's neck is not fully formed vertebrae at 1 or 2, closer to three, so when you have a child whose head is naturally disproportionately bigger than their body and front facing, in a frontal collision, their head is going to go forward and hyperextend, causing serious or fatal damage,” said Nick Aysseh, of Yale-New Haven Hospital.
In Connecticut, experts said unfortunately only one in five car seats are used properly.
The new law goes into effect Oct. 1 so advocates say now it’s all about educating parents and raising awareness in order to keep their little ones safe.
"I think this is the equalizer that families will get the same message from both their pediatricians and the law so we can keep more kids safer for a longer period of time,” Martinello said.
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