Page 52 - S36.Autumn 2019
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Southington Magazine — Autumn 2019
Attorney Paul Bedard
Connecticut’s Child
Passenger Safety
This September 15th-21st was Child Passenger Safety Week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. Fortunately, many of these deaths can be prevented. Reports indicate that the correct use of a child safety seat can reduce a child’s risk of death during a motor vehicle accident by as much as seventy-one percent.
Although keeping children safe during motor vehicle travel may be a matter of care, concern, and common sense, it is also a matter of complying with Connecticut’s child passenger safety law. Connecticut Public Act 17-230 became effective on October 1, 2017; making Connecticut the eighth state to follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics when it comes to child passenger safety laws. Connecticut’s regulations reference age and weight thresholds for specific classifications and corresponding requirements, both of which must be met within each classification. Connecticut’s current car seat law increased the age and weight thresholds for car seats.
Unless exempted due to a qualifying disability or impairment, the operator and any front-seat passenger in any motor vehicle equipped with seat safety belts must wear the seat safety belts while the vehicle is being operated. Infants must use a rear-facing car seat until they reach two years of age and thirty pounds. When a vehicle has an operable front passenger airbag, it is illegal to place a rear- facing car seat in the front passenger seat of the vehicle.
Toddlers must use either a rear-facing or a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness until they reach five years of age and forty pounds. Children must use a rear-facing or a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness--or a booster seat with a seat safety belt--until they reach eight years of age and sixty pounds. Use of a booster seat requires the vehicle to have a safety seat belt that includes a lap and shoulder belt.
Children age eight and older who weigh at least sixty pounds must use an approved child restraint system or, at a minimum, wear a seat safety belt within an operating vehicle. It is recommended that

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