by Dustin W. Bogan, PA-C
No parent wants to imagine being in a car accident while traveling with their children, but unfortunately this can happen any time. In a study completed in 2016, 723 children had died over the previous year as a result of a car accident and 128,000 were injured. Of those who died in a car accident, 35 percent of the children were not restrained properly. We all know how important it is to protect your child in the best way while traveling, but it can be difficult to remember the recommendations, let alone the laws that seem to change constantly. I hope to clear some of the confusion in this month’s “Ted’s Corner.” Protecting our children while traveling is important, but it can be difficult to remember the local laws when it feels like they change almost constantly. With the upcoming implementation of the new laws for 2019, I thought it would be a good time to write about the new changes and the old recommendations. The new Virginia safety seat laws take effect on July 1, 2019. Virginia law will now require that all children under the age of two remain in a rear facing car seat, which is in line with the recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics. At age two, Virginia allows children to transition to a forward-facing seat if they meet the minimum weight requirement. Children under the age of eight must remain in a booster seat in the Commonwealth of Virginia. If you feel that your child is outgrowing the rear or forward-facing seat, look for a transitional seat. Car seat manufacturers have rear facing models for children close to 40 pounds and forward-facing seats for those up to 65 pounds. Although the Commonwealth of Virginia does not have a current height or weight restriction for transitioning out of a booster, the AAP does recommend children be 4′ 9” or above. The AAP also recommends that children under the age of 13 remain in the back seat. All individuals traveling in a car should remain in a seat belt. Car seats are required to remain in the rear seat unless the vehicle does not have a rear seat. In this case, the passenger side airbag should be deactivated. References and additional resources: