New car seat law in Virginia to take effect July 1

RICHMOND, Va. (FOX 5 DC) -- As of July 1, all children two years of age and younger will need to have a rear-facing child safety seat in Virginia. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children are less likely to die or have a serious injury if they're put in a rear-facing seat.

Leah Scully, with AAA Mid-Atlantic's Foundation for Safety and Education, says car seats can save lives.

"Rear-facing is always safer for kids. It helps to absorb some of the shock if they were to ever get in a car accident and it helps to protect their neck and spine being rear-facing," said Scully.

"Unless they've hit the height and weight requirement on the car seat, there is no ill-effect to keeping your child rear facing as long as possible."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 328 children under the age of five were saved by car seats in 2016, but the same report states that 95 percent of child safety seats are improperly installed.

If you're caught without one, you could face a $50 fine for a first offense and each subsequent offense as much as $500.