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TN Lawmakers Approve Longer Car Seat Requirement

Posted at 8:45 AM, Mar 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-08 23:24:18-05

Toddlers would have to ride in rear-facing car seats for an additional year under a bill passed by both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly.

Democratic Rep. John Ray Clemmons of Nashville said the measure brings the state's car seat laws up to date with the recommendations of physicians and auto manufacturers.

"These aren’t drastic changes we’re talking about," said Rep. Clemmons.  "We are trying to match up a couple of things that have changed with vehicle technology that’s emerged over the years."

As a father of three, Rep. Clemmons said it was important for Tennessee laws to match national safety standards.

Current law requires rear-facing car seats until age 1; forward-facing car seats until age 3; and booster seats until age 8.

The bill would change those rules to require rear-facing seats until age 2; forward-facing car seats until age 5; and booster seats until children turn 12 or reach a height of 4-foot-9.

"We all want the best for our children," said Rep. Clemmons.  "As long as parents read the instructions on car seats, or booster seats, they will be fine."

The Senate passed the bill on a 32-0 vote on Monday, while the House vote was 68-19. It now heads to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.