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By Miriam Raftery

September 21, 2015 (Sacramento)—Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 53 into law. It requires drivers to secure children in rear-facing car seats until at least age 2, unless the child weighs over 40 pounds or is more than 40 inches tall.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supported the bill,  citing a study that found children younger than 2 are 75 percent less likely to be killed or injured in a car crash if they're in a rear-facing car seat.

According to a letter sent by the AAP to a key committee chair in support of the measure, “rear-facing car seats provide optimal support to the head and spine in the event of a crash. An infant younger than 2 years of age developmentally has a large head in proportion to the rest of his or her body, as well as structural features of their neck and spine that place the infant at particularly  high risk of head and spine injuries in motor vehicle crashes…We care for these patients and see the catastrophic impact on not only the patient’s life, but also on the entire family.”

The National Transportation Safety Administration also advises keeping children in a rear-facing car seat until age 2 or even 3, yet 75% of parents switch children to face forwards too early despite that advice.

California is the first state in the nation to make rear-facing seats for children mandatory until age 2.

Once a child outgrows an infant seat, there are rear-facing convertible seats that are comfortable and allow for growth. You can learn more at

The new law will take effect in 2017.

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