Next week is National Child Passenger Safety Week focusing on saving children’s lives in the event of an auto accident. In conjunction with safety week, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has taken the opportunity to single out the three states that have yet to pass a child booster seat law – and Florida is one of them. The other two are Arizona and South Dakota.
In 1997 the NTSB added Improve Child Occupant Protection to its Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements. While all states have implemented the infant safety seat, states have been slower to enact laws requiring the use of booster seats for older children. Here are the suggested requirements:
- Use a booster seat when your child has outgrown the forward-facing seat. Be sure to check the height and weight limits for the seat you own. Your child needs to use a booster seat from about 4 to 8 years old or until your child reaches about 4 feet, 9 inches.
- Keep your child in a booster seat until the adult lap-and-shoulder belt fits properly. The seat belt should lie across the chest between the neck and arm and the lap belt must be across the upper thighs, not the soft stomach.
- An adult lap-and-shoulder belt can be used when your child is tall enough (usually about 4 feet, 9 inches) to sit against the back of the car’s seat with their legs bent at the knees with their feet hanging down.
While state officials promote child passenger safety with car seat inspections during the upcoming National Child Passenger Safety Week, NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman hopes the remaining holdouts will take up the cause for child booster seats. In her statement she said,
“My colleagues and I hope that 2010 is the year that these legislatures will adopt this best practice and increase our young children’s safety in cars across this entire country.”
Contact your state legistlator and ask for this all important child safety law for the next session.