Some changes in New Jersey’s car seat law take effect Tuesday.
Kids have been required to ride in a rear-facing car seat until their first birthday.
The new regulations extend that requirement until they’re 2 years old or weigh more than 30 pounds.
A rear-facing seat is the best way to keep young children safe in a vehicle, said AAA spokeswoman Kathleen Lewis.
“As soon as they go forward-facing, if they’re too small, what’s going to end up happening in a crash is that their neck is going to whip back much faster and much harder than ours is because their head is so much heavier and that can cause significant damage, including death,” Lewis said.
Another change requires children to be in a booster seat until they’re 8 years old or 57 inches tall. The previous cutoff was 8 years old or 80 pounds.
Ed O’Connor, the regional supervisor of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, said police will make efforts to enforce the regulations, but they won’t be focused on all the specifics.
“They’re not going to be carrying scales and measuring sticks and things like that,” he said. “The intent of this law was more about education and getting parents to follow the child seat manufacturers’ recommendations and keeping the child rear-facing for as long as possible.”
Changes in the law are intended to reduce the risk of spinal cord and neck injuries. O’Connor said.