Rear-facing child safety seats now the law until 2

Parents' reactions to state change are split

Forward-facing lawmakers turn seats...

BEND, Ore. - A new Oregon state law has put requirements on car seats. Under the new law, children have to stay rear-facing unless they are over 2 years old and also over 20 pounds.

Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of children between 1 and 12. Sixty percent of accidents are head-on collisions, and facing seats toward the rear protects a child's head, neck and spine.

The research is now being embraced by lawmakers.

"It's actually been recommended for a long time," child passenger safety technician Krysta Watkins said Thursday in Bend. "It's just starting now to become -- people are becoming more aware. They're doing more research on it, which is wonderful."

In fact, some people already thought it was required.

"I actually didn't know that it was a new law," Bend resident Tiffany Camp said. "I've always lived that way. My daughter is 5, and she was in a rear-facing until she couldn't any more."

But some see the new law as a governmental overreach and don't agree with the age requirement.

"I don't understand why they're bringing the necessity to keep them in a rear-facing car seat until they're 2," Bend resident Hannah Murray said. "I weighed 65 pounds until I was 13, so I technically needed to be in a car seat until then, and there's no way you would've kept me in one of those things."

But age was included in the decision for a reason.

"Even if you have a 30-pound 1 year-old, their bones are still a 1 year-old's bones," Watkins said. "They're still mostly cartilage. They're not fused, they're not oscillated yet. So no matter what the child weighs, they're still cartilage more than actual bones. That's why it goes based off of age, because that determines bone development, not weight."

Since Oregon passed the law, Rhode Island also approved the change. Washington state is in the process of adopting it as well.

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