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New Child Safety Law Goes Into Effect In November

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Three out of every four car seats are used or installed improperly. Three out of every four car seats are used or installed improperly.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

A new child safety seat law goes into effect in Oklahoma on November 1. It's a three-part law that has new requirements for infants all the way up to 7-year-olds. Some parents already do the requirements anyway, but many do not.

Three out of every four car seats are used or installed improperly.

Jennifer Gotcher wants to protect her precious cargo and had experts with Safe Kids Oklahoma make sure she installed her daughters' car seats correctly.

“I wanted to see how the latch system worked in my car because she'll sometimes unbuckle her car seat and unsnap it,” Gotcher said.

Most car seats are installed or used wrong.

“It may be one thing that is wrong, but that one thing could be detrimental in a crash,” said Cass Herring with Safe Kids Oklahoma.

Oklahoma will soon be one of the few states with a car seat law that meets the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The new law states:

--All children under age 2 must be in a rear-facing car seat

--All children under age 4 must be in a car seat with a harness

--All children ages 4-7 must ride in a booster seat unless they are taller than 4'9"

“Seatbelts are made for an adult man, a 250-pound man and then you think about a little 6-year-old,” Herring told News 9. “Do you think that they are going to fit in that same seat belt and it is going to protect them the same way.”

Gotcher’s children are on the smaller side, so she already did the rear-facing car seats until age two.

“Until two or even, I think she was even two and a half before I flipped her,” Gotcher explained.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, using car seats properly cuts the chance of death in a crash by 71-percent for babies and by half for toddlers.

It is also important to note that car seats expire because the plastic can wear down or weaken.

If no expiration date is listed, the general rule is that a car seat expires six years after its manufacturing date or immediately if it is involved in a crash.

Parents and caregivers can contact one of the many child passenger safety (CPS) technicians available throughout the state to ensure that their children’s car and/or booster seats are installed properly and seat belts are fitted correctly.

CPS technicians can also advise parents on how to comply with the new law and answer any questions they may have.

To find a CPS technician, visit www.safercar.gov/parents, select “Car Seats,” and then “Get Your Seat Inspected.”

To receive more information on child passenger safety, contact the OSDH Injury Prevention Service at (405) 271-3430 or 1-800-522-0204 or visit http://cps.health.ok.gov.

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