LINCOLN–Gov. Pete Ricketts has signed Legislative Bill 42 beefing up state law on the use of child car seats.
Under the bill signed Wednesday, toddlers up to age 2 will be required to sit in rear-facing car seats and kids under 8 to use booster seats.The law will take effect in January 2019.
Sen. Robert Hilkemann of Omaha sponsored the measure that was passed on March 29 after a 40-2 vote.
Violation of the new child restraint law would be considered a secondary offense and would carry a penalty of $25. Motorists could only be charged with that violation if they were already facing a primary offense, like speeding, according to the Lincoln Police Department.
“The health and safety of the child is most important,” AAA-Auto Club Group’s public relations representative Rose White said. “It’s the best way to protect them from injuries they could get in a severe accident.”
White said the change doesn’t cost anything, just the initial cost of the car or booster seats.
If a child is moved out of their restraint too soon, injuries are more likely. Child restraints are built to have a webbed area of protection over the abdomen and head areas.
“This information has been around for years,” White said. “Nebraska is behind the times in making this law. But now that it is, we are going to roll out an aggressive education campaign alongside providers and the medical community to make sure parents know just how important it is.”
A concern of some citizens is that their 2-year-old child is too big for a rear-facing car seat.
White said to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until he or she reaches the top height or weight limit allowed by your car seat’s manufacturer.
Safe Kids Nebraska, a strong supporter of the bill, is a state resource that holds inspection events where you can ask questions and fulfill the safety requirements of car seat installation.