When you’re traveling with your little one in the car you want them to be as safe as possible, so you strap them into a car seat in the back seat. You might have a front-facing car seat for your one-year-old, but if you’re in the state of Missouri, that could soon be against the law.
While front-facing car seats allow you to more easily see your child in the rear-view mirror while driving, it might not be the safest mode of transportation for them, depending on your child’s size and age. Staying up-to-date on the state’s car seat laws is the best way to ensure your child is safe.
Rear-Facing vs. Front-Facing Car Seats
As is stands, the current Missouri car seat laws state that children under 16 years old must be properly restrained according to their height and weight. Here are the specific parameters that are clearly outlined by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MDOT):
- Children under 8 years of age, less than 80 pounds, and shorter than 4 foot 9 inches are required to be in a child passenger restraint system
- Children over 8 years old, weighing more than 80 pounds, and taller than 4 foot 9 inches must use a booster seat
- All children must wear their seat belt regardless of height, weight, and age
Recently, a bill was passed by the state House that requires children under 2 years old to be in rear-facing car seats while in our state. Rear-facing car seats are safer for children who weigh less than 40 pounds because there is a lower risk of injury than forward-facing car seats in children that small, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
The car seat can protect and support the head, neck, and spine more effectively when it’s facing the rear because the child is kept still in a collision or when the driver brakes suddenly. In forward-facing car seats, children under 2 can face worse injuries after a car accident because the straps hold their body in place, but since their heads are bigger and heavier than their bodies, it is likely to whip forward and cause neck and spine injuries.
After being passed by the Missouri House, the bill moves on to the Senate, where it may or may not get passed as a law. If passed, you will be required to put your toddler in a rear-facing car seat while driving in the state of Missouri.
An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Family Heal
At Thomas Law Offices, we care about you and your family’s safety. We know that an auto wreck can rock your family physically, emotionally, and financially, but we are here to help.
Car accidents can happen at any time, whether you’re driving alone or have your children in the car. They can lead to serious injuries that require a lot of medical care and a long recovery time. Even worse, they can lead to time off work and keep you from being able to financially support your family like you did before the accident. If you think you have a case, reach out to our office today so that we can discuss your potential legal options.