As of November 1, 2019, parents and anyone who transports infants and toddlers needs to know that New York State law requires all children under the age of 2 to ride in a rear-facing car seat. More states are passing this law because riding rear-facing is safest for children under age 2, and is a recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). “Riding rear-facing better protects the child’s neck and spine, two of the most vulnerable parts of the body. In the event of a crash, we want to lessen the risk of serious injury to the neck and back,” explains Chrystal Johnson, Madison County Health Department’s Public Health Educator and Child Passenger Safety Technician.
In fact, it is recommended that infants and toddlers ride in a rear-facing seat until they reach the weight or height limit of the seat. There are 3 types of rear-facing car seats: infant-only carriers, convertible infant/toddler seats, and all-in-one combination seats. Most children will outgrow a rear-facing infant carrier before reaching their 2nd birthday. When the child outgrows an infant carrier, it is recommended that a larger, rear-facing convertible infant/toddler or an all-in-one car seat with higher rear-facing height and weight limits be used. These seats should be installed in the rear-facing position until the child reaches the rear-facing weight or height limit set by the car seat manufacturer.
Madison County’s Car Seat Program provides child safety seats by appointment to parents and legal guardians who are Madison County residents, income-eligible, and who do not have a safe or appropriate seat for their child. For more information or to find out if you are eligible, call the Madison County Health Department in Wampsville at 315-366-2361. In Southern Madison County, you may call Community Action Partnership in Morrisville at 315-684-3144 Ext. 20.