More parents and guardians are following Connecticut’s Child Passenger Safety (CPS) seat law for infants since the State strengthened the original mandate in 2017, says AAA Northeast.
Currently, infants must ride rear facing until they turn two years old and weigh at least 30 pounds, an upgrade from the earlier requirement of 1 year and 20 pounds.
To highlight National CPS Week (Sept. 20 – 26), AAA Northeast analyzed data from the UCONN Crash Data Repository and found more children under age two have been riding rear facing in recent years. In fact, the percentage of children under 2 who are riding rear facing increased from 45% in 2015 – before the law was upgraded — to 61% last year.
Here is a chart tracking annual increases:
|% of children under 2 who ride rear facing (based on crash reports)||45%||50%||56%||60%||61%|
Adelle Zocher, AAA Northeast’s Traffic Safety Specialist and a certified CPS instructor noted the numbers show a positive trend especially since rear-facing car seats are safer for infants and toddlers because they support the most vulnerable parts of the child’s body: the head, neck, and spine.
But more than 1 in 3 infants still aren’t riding in a proper car seat based on age and weight, Zocher pointed out. “The law is working, but safety advocates have much more work to do especially since following car seat recommendations can make the difference between a severe injury and a minor injury,” she added.
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for young children, and more than 250 children under two years old were injured in a crash in Connecticut in 2019, according to the Crash Data Repository.
AAA Northeast is committed to working with area community and government organizations to educate parents and guardians about car seat safety. “Our top priority is keeping kids safe and ensuring they’re properly restrained,” Zocher said.
To mark National CPS week, AAA Northeast will sponsor a free car seat safety clinic Monday, September 21 between 10 am and 2 pm at its 2276 Whitney Avenue, Hamden branch. Although appointments are highly recommended because of social distancing protocols, walk-ins will be accommodated. Appointments may be made by emailing Azocher@aaanortheast.com. Masks are required.