OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Nebraska will enforce its new child safety seat and booster seat laws starting January 1.
According to the new law, children must ride in a rear-facing car seat up to age 2, or until they reach the upper weight and height requirements of the car seat manufacturer.
The law also says children must now ride in a car seat, or booster seat up to the age of 8, or until they reach the height and weight requirements of the car seat manufacturer.
Finally, the law calls for children 8 and under to ride in the back seat of the vehicle as long as it's equipped with seat belts that aren't occupied by other children 8 and under.
"Children in a rear-facing seat ... the seats are more protective of the head, neck and spine," Nebraska Safety Council's Mark Segerstrom said.
Nebraska State Patrol Trooper Brian Farmer says it's ideal for small children.
"If we could all ride rear-facing in the middle that would be the best for spot everybody," Farmer said. "It's just safer, puts you out of harms way."
"The younger children, their bones have not even fused yet," Segerstrom said. "They don't necessarily have all the support from their skeleton that they need from these seats."
Segerstrom tells us every year, for the past 10 years, the state has averaged nine car-related fatalities involving children 14 or younger.
"Hopefully this is one element that will help keep children secured properly and also in the backseat," he said.
Segerstrom also says parents should remove their child's coat because bulky clothing or blankets can prevent a snug harness fit, which ideal for kids in car seats.
There will be free car seat checks on January 26 from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. at 9203 S. 145th St., Omaha, NE 68138. For more information visit https://www.safekids.org/