LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The first birthday rite of passage of turning the car seat around to face the front has officially been pushed to the second birthday.
As of Jan. 1, children in California under 2 years old must now ride in a rear-facing car seat until the child reaches at least 40 pounds or is at least 40 inches tall.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the new car seat regulation into law in 2015, but the law did not go into effect until this year.
The law previously required children to stay rear-facing until they turned 1 year old.
But in recent years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics both addressed the issue, and now recommending children stay rear-facing until at least two years old.
According to the CHP, the back of the seat actually protects the neck and spine of children who are rear-facing.
Officer Chris Baldonado explained why extended rear- facing has been proven to be five times safer than forward- facing for children under 2.
“Forward facing, in an impact, this seat is going to lunge forward. And at that point, your child’s head is going to launch forward potentially hitting their knees,” Baldonado said. “But rear-facing, it will act as a catcher’s mit and absorb the crash and rise back up.”