A Wisconsin lawmaker is proposing a change in the state’s child safety seat law, which she argues could help protect thousands of lives each year.
The bill from state Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) would updated existing law to require children to be seated in a rear-facing safety seat until they are at least two-years-old or outgrow the manufacturer’s specifications for the device. Under current law, parents are only required to keep their children in a rear-facing seat until they turn one or weigh more than 20 pounds.
Taylor argues the current law is at odds with what doctors and transportation safety experts recommend. The update would make the law reflect the current standard, while removing any confusion caused by parents receiving conflicting information. She says “on the one hand, you have a pediatrician saying one thing but, in a lot of the literature that you get, it talks about what the law is.”
The Centers for Disease Control says about 9,000 children under the age of 12 died in car accidents from 2002-2011. Taylor notes that correctly using a child safety seat can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent.
The bill would also require children to sit in the back seat of a available, when one is available, until they are 13-years-old. The requirement would not apply to vehicles where a back seat is not present. Current law can allow children to move the front seat of a vehicle as young as five-years-old. Taylor says the change would dramatically improve safety.