Grace period over, fines begin for Pennsylvania’s updated child safety-seat law

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A year-long grace period has ended on a Pennsylvania law that requires more children to face backward when they’re riding in a car.

The law says children under age 2 must be strapped into a rear-facing safety seat until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the car seat manufacturer.

The law went into effect on August 12, 2016, but directed police to issue warnings for the first year.

Now that the first year is up, violators face a $75 fine plus costs and fees.

Safety experts say facing children toward the back of the car dramatically lowers their risk of death or serious injury during crashes.

“Young children, their bodies aren’t designed to withstand impacts of a vehicle collision,” said Doni Lee Spiegel, public relations manager for AAA Central Penn. “The rear facing car seat, the shell of the car seat protects their head, their neck, their shoulders, and their spine in the event of an accident.”

According to AAA, motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of injury and death for all children. Child safety seats reduce the risk of injury by up to 82 percent and reduce the risk of death by 28 percent.

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