Although car seat usage has significant increased since states began enacting laws requiring them, car crashes are still the leading cause of death for children in the United States.  According to the CDC, it’s estimated that 69% of car seats and 20% of booster seats are used incorrectly.

Nebraska has enacted some strict laws regarding car seat usage for children.  Violation of this statute can result in a $25 fine, plus court costs, and could result in the loss of your license.  All children up to age 8 must ride in a federally approved safety seat.  Infants and toddlers must ride in rear facing car seats until they reach age 2 or the weight and height limits of the car seat.  Children under 8 must ride in the back seat with a seat belt, unless the back seat is already occupied with younger children.  Children must ride in a car seat or booster seat until they outgrow the height and weight restrictions.  Children between 8 and 18 must ride with a seat belt or child safety seat.

Nebraska’s car seat law is simply the minimum requirement for safety.  This does not mean that you should immediately turn your toddler forward facing once he turns 2.  Many rear facing car seats have a higher height and weight limits and can be used for longer periods of time.  Research has shown that, when under the car seat’s height and weight limits, rear facing is the safest option for infants and toddlers.

Leslie E. Remus