Mommy Minute: New car seat law takes effect Friday

Tammy Palyo is a mom who is passionate about car seat safety.

She is so passionate, her 3 1/2-year-old daughter Charlotte still rides rear-facing.

“If it’s a long car ride, she usually switches from criss-cross to feet up on the seat,” she said. “A short car ride, they’re typically up or to the side or something like that.”

Tammy said her daughter has never once complained about a lack of legroom, and she’s tall for her age.

carseat1“I don’t know any 3-year-old that wouldn’t tell you if they were uncomfortable or unhappy – and she’s pretty vocal if she’s not happy with something – and she’s never complained,” Tammy said.

A new Pennsylvania law requires children under the age of 2 who haven’t reached the manufacturer’s height and weight restrictions to remain rear-facing. The idea is that they will simply be safer in a crash. The law takes effect Friday.

“It’s easier to fix a broken leg or a broken ankle than it is to fix a broken neck, depending on the severity of a crash,” PennDOT spokeswoman Fritzi Schreffler said.

carseatSchreffler said you can leave a child rear-facing far past their second birthday as long as they’re under the height and weight limits for that particular seat.

“For years, we’ve been telling people to leave them rear-facing as long as you can,” Schreffler said. “Now, we have the law behind us to kind of help us.”

“It’s the number one killer of kids under 13 and it’s something we need to take more seriously, so I was really excited because I know we’re going to see in those statistics more kids making it through crashes,” Tammy said.

Police will issue verbal warnings for the first year, but a violation of the new law will eventually carry a $140 fine.

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