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Oregon's new child car-seat rules have repercussions

Kids under 2 must face backwards, for safety

Car seat law

BEND, Ore. - Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 through 12, officials say.

But it's hoped that a new Oregon law which went into effect in May will change that.

In 2015, nearly 200 kids younger than 8 were injured on Oregon roads because they weren't using the child restraints required by law, officials say.

But the law can often be confusing, and the car seats difficult to install, end Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe said Wednesday.

"Eighty to 90 percent of all seats are installed improperly, he said. "That doesn't mean they're all going to throw the kids out into the car, but it does mean that they may not withstand the impact forces of a motor vehicle accident."

And for those certified in car seat installation, it's easy to spot. One paramedic said he sees car seats installed incorrectly every time he drives around off-duty. 

To reduce deaths and injuries, drivers can get a ticket for an incorrect car seat installation or having no car seat at all.

According to Redmond Police Lt. Curtis Chambers, "A parent is now required to keep their child rear facing until they're 2 years of age. If that does not occur, the parent or person driving can receive a ticket of $110."

But officials say it's difficult to spot, and not many tickets are handed out.

Chambers said, "Some of the worst car crashes I've been involved with was when a child was involved and received physical injury. It is heartbreaking to see."

Along with requiring 2-year-olds to sit in rear-facing-car seats, kids younger than 8 years old or under 4-foot-9 are also required to sit in booster seats so their adult seat belts fit properly.

Experts stress that the height is the important factor, and that a child under 4'9" should still use a booster seat.

The Bend Fire Department offers free car seat clinics on the third Monday of each month at the West Fire Station, 1212 SW Simpson Ave Bend 97702 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.


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