If passed, a new Oregon law will require (almost) all children to ride in rear-facing car seats until their second birthday. Sponsored by Representatives Sheri Malstrom, John E. Huffman, Jodi Hack and Carla C. Piluso, the bill just passed the House and is on its way to the Senate.
Child safety advocates have long been vocal in their support of extending children’s rear-facing periods. The American Academy of Pediatrics officially recommends a rear-facing car seat until, literally, the child outgrows the height or weight limit of his or her particular seat–but at least until the child is 2.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stops just short of officially taking a stance on the 2-year minimum but formally recommends keeping your children rear-facing until they’ve reached the car seat’s maximum recommendation for height or weight.
Since seat belt laws vary from state to state, only a few have yet adopted the 2-year policy. The states that have include:
Parental attitudes toward keeping kids rear-facing are softening in he US. A 2015 survey of US parents found that the percentage of parents who turned their kids to face forward at or before the child’s first birthday dropped from 33% in 2011 to 24% in 2013. And the number of parents who kept their children rear-facing until at least the second birthday rose from 16% to 23% in that same period. The parents’ ages, education and household income were not factors in their decision to maintain rear-face car riding.