…to bring you this important public service announcement regarding child car seat safety.
My friend Christine asked our state troopers about carseat safety rules here in Kansas. Here is his reply:
my name is Trooper Tim McCool. I’m the Troop B (Topeka) Public Resource Officer. I’m also a Child Passenger Safety Technician/Instructor. I can appreciate your question, our current law is somewhat confusing. The origins of our current law start back in the 1980’s and the law has been revised several times over the years. Our legislators have tried to keep up with the current recommendations but have not always been successful. As law enforcement officers we try to look at what is recommended nationally and try to apply that to our local law. Our law doesn’t say you have to use a forward facing seat at one year of age it says that you must be using a seat properly, and if you follow the national recommendations then you should be using a rear facing convertible to its upper weight limit rear facing. What also leads to confusion is that the AAP currently recommends that the minimum you should turn a child around forward facing is now at 18 months and 25 pounds in weight. As you see, lots of information. Best rule of thumb, that will keep you out of trouble is to always secure your child in a CPS seat and follow the national recommendations. If you meet a law enforcement officer, most of the officers will defer to one of us that is a CPS Tech. and will support the national recommendations. Again, we law enforcement officers don’t make the laws here in Kansas, we only enforce them. If you or anyone else would like to see our law changed then I would suggest that you contact your local legislator and make your feelings known to them. If they don’t hear from their constituents, they won’t know that there is an issue. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.
Tech. Trooper Timothy I. McCool
Public Resource Officer
Kansas Highway Patrol – Troop B
So, there you have it. 12 months and 20 pounds is now outdated information. Remember that 18 months and 25 lbs is a minimum, the reality is that you should keep them rear-facing as long as they are within height and weight limits of the seat (which for most is 33 lbs). We had to turn F around at 12 months on the dot because she was 34 lbs. C is still under 33 lbs, but she’s a lot taller than a rear-facing seat can handle. We didn’t flip her around until she was about 2.
Naturally, make sure the seat is properly installed in the car, and your child in the seat. If in doubt, get it checked. 95% of all carseats are improperly installed.