AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas lawmakers are behind a bill that could change what they call outdated car seat laws.
Currently, state law says children under eight years old need to be in a car seat, but it doesn’t specify what kind and how the child should be positioned.
A new bill, by State Rep. Chris Turner from North Texas along with several other lawmakers, says that children should stay rear facing until age two unless they’re 40 inches and 40 pounds.
“Keeping Texas children safe should always be our top priority. By updating our outdated child car seat laws, we will better protect the youngest Texans and ultimately save lives,“ said Turner.
Turner worked closely with Dell Children’s Medical Center to construct the bill.
“Rear facing is safer for kids under two and it’s because their head and necks are still developing,“ explained Lindsay Pollok, who is a child injury prevention coordinator “Rear facing allows the car seat in a crash to shell the car seat and absorb the crash forces rather than them being forward facing and their head and neck taking the brunt of that force.“
Parent Lindsay Eulenfeld is keeping her 4-year-old rear-facing. She says she learned quickly after moving her daughter when she was younger.
“When she was about two, I stumbled across something talking about the enhanced safety of being rear facing. What I read was for small children the vertebrae in their spine are all connected via cartilage. So when they’re forward facing in a crash and they fling forward they can become internally decapitated and that phrase was terrifying to me.“
Eulenfeld says her son now sits criss-cross with his legs and has never mentioned he was uncomfortable in his rear-facing seat.
“We don’t have data that shows that there is an increased risk of leg injuries in a crash if a child’s legs are crossed or even touching the backseat and we would rather have a leg injury than a head and neck injury,“ said Pollok.
If this bill passes, it doesn’t mean you’ll need to run out and buy a new car seat. A lot of the car seats can be either rear or front facing and most have higher weight limits.
Austin-Travis County EMS will host several child car seat fitting stations over the next few weeks across the Austin area