Beginning Jan 1, 2019, Illinois New Car Seat Law Takes Effect
Posted on December 20th, 2018 by Zane Cagle
Illinois Law Passed in August 2018, Goes Into Effect January 1, 2019
As of January 1, 2019, a new car seat law will go into effect for children under the age of two. Children in their first two years in Illinois MUST ride in rear-facing car seats. The only exception is if the child is taller than 40 inches and weighs more than 40 pounds. Car crashes are still the leading cause of death for children under the age of 13. Kemp of the Carbondale Police Department said the new car seat law is in place to protect children while they are their most vulnerable stages of life.
“Even with the best car seats available, some of these crashes we are seeing a lot of whiplash injuries. It might be one of the most common injuries for small kids even if they are in a good car seat”. “To try to avoid as many of these injuries as possible, we’ve decided to turn the seat around until the child is old enough to where they can develop more physically they are able to control their heads.”
According to Dr. Ripperda, “The rear-facing position will better protect children from the impact, especially if the car they are in strikes something in front. The child will absorb less forcing facing the rear of the seat than they do facing the front of the seat” said Ripperda.
Child Safety in Cars
All children under the age of 8 must be properly secured in an appropriate child safety restraint system. This includes the use of booster seats which must be used with a lap/shoulder safety belt. If the back seat of the vehicle is not equipped with lap/shoulder type safety belt, a child weighing more than 40 pounds be transported in the back seat without a booster seat, secured with a lap belt only. See guidelines through the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State website.
The Extreme Importance of Properly Installed Child Safety Seats
I have done many articles about the importance of properly installed child safety seats. I have gotten that dreaded call to go to the children’s ER and feeling a wash of relief as I saw my two kids bouncing on the hospital beds in their rooms and excited that SpongeBob was on television. It was a car crash and walking into that ER and seeing little cervical collars that had been on my children as hey were transported from a car crash scene to the ER via ambulance was impactful. It was an overall feeling of gratitude. It was also an immense appreciation of the child car safety seat.
At many times in my legal career as a motor vehicle crash attorney, I am familiar that some parents do not get to experience that wash of relief. I truly believe that the critical reason my children were safe on that November day was because my wife had so diligently shopped for the absolute safest car seats she could find. Not only did she research a safe seat, but she was equally committed to being sure those seats were correctly installed. Child safety seats greatly decrease the likelihood that a child will be injured in a car crash, but the best, most expensive seat will not work if it is not properly installed.
Some Helpful Car Seat Suggestions
No doubt if you are shopping for a new child safety seat, you are either becoming a new parent, care-giver or maybe a new grandparent. Thankfully, technology and manufacturers work to make child car safety seats more and more safe. We know that child car safety seats save lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when used and installed correctly, child safety seats effectively reduce the risk of death by 71 percent for infants (under age 1) and 54 percent for toddlers (ages 1-3) and children in boosters (ages 4-9).
Some Helpful Websites:
NHTSA- Car Seats and Booster Seats
Consumer Reports: Car Seats
Properly Installing a Child Safety Seat
You don’t have to buy the most expensive car seat on the market to get a great car seat. But, you do have to make sure that it is properly installed. If you are in the greater St. Louis area St. Louis Children’s Hospital are great resources for giving information about car seat installation. SSM Health offers Car Seat Inspection Stations throughout the St. Louis metro area. These inspection stations are often located at local fire departments.
As parents, one of our chief duties is protecting our children. We cannot immunize our children from injuries that occur during childhood as every parent will testify–no matter how vigilant the parent is. It is startling how quickly your child can injure themselves just around the house when you are with them 24/7. All parents must restrain their child properly in all vehicles at ANY time they are on the roads. No matter the distance of the trip–two blocks or two miles–children must always be properly restrained.