Virginia’s rear-facing car seat law now in effect

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HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – The rear-facing car seat law that was signed by Gov. Ralph Northam recently is now in effect.

The law states that all children up to age 8 must be in a properly secured child safety restraint device which meets the standards adopted by the United States Department of Transportation. Children must remain rear-facing until the age of 2 or until they reach the minimum weight requirement for a forward-facing child safety seat.

Also, all seat devices must be placed in the back seat of the car. If the vehicle does not have a back seat (pick up truck, older model car), the car seat can only be placed in the front passenger side. The passenger airbags must be deactivated.

The new law, House Bill 708, was introduced by Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) after she was approached by AAA about the issue.

“I’m very proud to patron this bill because I have always worked on issues about public safety and kids’ safety,” Filler-Corn said. “How could I not introduce a bill that will save lives and protect our most vulnerable Virginians, our children?”

According to Martha Meade, the public and government affairs manager for Virginia’s AAA’s Mid-Atlantic region, the association has lobbied for issues of public safety on the roads for decades.

“This is an important change for Virginia because it is confusing for many folks who don’t know when the right time is to switch their child to be forward-facing in vehicles,” Meade said. “All the major traffic safety organizations — AAA, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, National Highway Safety Administration and the Academy of Pediatrics — recommend a child stays rear-facing until age 2, or until they’ve reached the minimum weight and height requirement.”

Related: Gov. Northam signs rear-facing car seat requirements into law

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