New seat belt safety law could affect your child's car seat

ROANOKE, Va. – Jill Lucas Drakeford educates parents in our region on the importance of placing children in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2 and how it could save their lives. 

“So when they are in a rear-facing child safety seat, what that child safety seat is doing is protecting their head, their neck, and spinal cord,” said Lucas Drakeford.

She said nearly 70 to 80 percent of car seats in our area are not properly installed which could lead to injury or death. 

Currently, Virginia law requires that any child, up until 8 must be properly secured in a child-restraint device that meets the standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

It does not say how long the child must remain rear-facing.

Safe Kids Southwest Virginia has been pushing the message that this proposed law could now enforce.

“However if your car seat faces up to 40 pounds to 50 pounds and your child is still within the height and weight limit rear-facing, regardless of their age keep them rear-facing,” said Lucas Drakeford.

Jodi Novak, who has three children, agrees that having children facing forward is deadly during those earlier stages of development. 

“I actually thought it was already the law, so all of my kids have stayed rear-facing until two,” said Novak. 

She is not the only mom who finds it necessary passing this rule of thumb into law.

“I think it should be up to the parents but if it was a law enforced, I would be for it, because an extra six months could probably save their child’s life," daycare teacher for KidsTown, Cynthia Callis, said.

Safe Kids Southwest Virginia, in partnership with the Roanoke City Fire Station No. 6, will be hosting free car-seat safety checks on March 15.