Friday, July 27, 2012

Arizona Booster Seat Law - Until age 8!

Arizona Law is protecting more children starting August 2nd. The new law requires children up to age 8 to be secured by a carseat or booster seat unless they are 4'9'' or above.

House Bill 2154, sponsored by Rep. Nancy McLain, R-Bullhead City, now requires children ages 5-7 who are shorter than 4 feet 10 inches to be in a child-restraint system. - as of today children 5 and under are protected... I am happy to see more children protected by this law. Of course some laws are unnecessary, but if parents and caregivers aren't willing to use common sense in these cases, we need laws to protect those who cannot make their own decisions on safety. Once Florida and South Dakota come aboard, all states in the US will require children under 8 to be safely restrained while travelling in a motor vehicle (busses are another situation, though).

Who does HB2154 protect? 

This new law protects children from caregivers who may not on their own understand that young children are not safe in seat belts alone. Many children who today aren't safe, will be required by law to be safer when riding in a car/van.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety,

Boosters elevate children and position safety belts so the belts will fit them better. The lap belt should lie flat and on top of a child's upper thighs, not higher up on the abdomen. The shoulder belt should fit across the middle of a child's shoulder. If it falls off the shoulder or rests on the neck, a child might move the belt behind the back or under an arm.

Even as a short adult, I know that in some back seats I'm not properly restrained. The shoulder belt rides into my neck - not safe. In addition, it is also important that the lap belt portion is not on the stomach where there stands to be more internal injuries.

At minimum put your child in a backless booster.

A backless booster looks like this:

If you do not have headrests or need to ensure the shoulder belt remains in front of your child, then a high back booster should be used and is generally SAFER for your child because the high backs are often also "belt positioning booster" seats to make sure those belts are in the right spot. They often double as a head rest for comfort and safety.

But if the high back booster raises the seatbelt away from your child's legs/hips, do not use it - use one that keeps the seat belt snug against the body - that separation is more movement in a crash!

Don't put your child in a booster earlier than necessary. A 5 point harness is much safer, but even a booster is better than an adult-sized seatbelt.

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