Following an accident in Utah last week in which an 18-month-old girl survived 14 hours in her car seat upside down, New Jersey lawmakers are striving to update the state’s law covering children’s safety while traveling.
The legislation, passed unanimously in the Senate and Assembly, requires children 2 and younger to be secured in a five-point harness-safety seat facing the back of a vehicle.
That type of seat would be required for kids up to the age of 8, depending on their age and height.
Senator Jim Beach says the changes are based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatricians and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, according to Sen. Jim Beach, D-Camden.
“We have to pay attention to the professionals and what works,” he said. “Four children a day are killed in this country in automobile accidents. That’s not acceptable if we can do something to help.”
Answering concerns about the cost of the child restraints, Beach said low-cost seats are available that can still act as a potential lifesaver.
The measure would also increase fines for noncompliance as well as doing away with a provision allowing fines to be suspended for seats that would not comply with the changes.
The legislation is awaiting action by Gov. Chris Christie.