Oregon governor Kate Brown recently signed a new mandate into law that requires children age two and under to ride in rear-facing car seats. This requirement previously ended when children turned one. Anyone who fails to follow this mandate will be fined up to $250. Oregon is the sixth state to implement rear-facing car seats for children two and under.
In an interview, Dr. Bend Hoffman explained the dangers of young children sitting in forward-facing car seats. “What’s going to happen is they’re going to be thrown forward, the arms and legs are going to go forward, head and neck forward. What’s going to stop the child are the harness straps. All sorts of horrible things can happen from paralysis to death.” Dr. Hoffman is a professor of pediatrics at OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
When the car seat is rear-facing during an accident, it absorbs the shock and the child’s spine, head and neck stay aligned.
“We know that kids rear-facing, between the age of one and two, are over five times less likely to be injured in a crash compared to kids facing forward,” said Dr. Hoffman.
Parents like Adrianna Morales are grateful for the change in the car seat laws. “I’m happy, really happy. I think it’s the best choice they made for our little ones, we need to protect them.”
Doernbecher and Legacy Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland provide free car seat installations by appointment.