Whenever a law changes, there are always going to be people who get annoyed and not want to follow that law. But when it comes to car seats and booster seats, this is serious business. This is what can protect your child from being harmed or killed in a car accident. Even the safest drivers have accidents -- that's why they are called accidents. Plus, you do have to worry about all the other drivers on the road who don't care about your child's safety as much as you do. This new booster seat law, going into effect on January 1st in California, may save hundreds of thousands of kids' lives.
Why wouldn't we want to follow it? Sure, it may make your child a little annoyed, but as most car seat advocates say, an annoyed kid is much better than a child who is dead.
The previous law for boosters in California was that children remain in a booster seat until the age of 6 or weighed 60 pounds. Here's what you need to know about the new law, to keep your kid safe and avoid being fined.
Instead of 6-years-old, the booster age is raised to 8-years-old. That means if your kid is 7 and has been out of a booster, he must go back into one. How can you get that to happen? Make it a fun shopping event. Educate your kid on why it's important. It's up to us as parents to keep our kids safe, and let our kids know it's "cool" to be safe.
Kids under the age of 8 years old, or under 4 feet 9 inches tall, must be properly buckled into a car or booster seat, and put in the back seat. Additionally, children who are 8 or older and not tall enough for the seat belt to fit properly must also ride in a booster or car seat.
This law isn't to create inconvenience, it's to keep your child alive and unhurt. And for those who choose not to follow it, not only are they endangering their child, they face fines up to $475.
In case you need a refresher on when your child is cleared to sit with only an adult seat belt, the California Office of Child Safety offers this:
- They can sit against the vehicle seat back with their knees bent without slouching and can comfortably stay in this position throughout the trip.
- The lap belt is low on the hips touching the upper thighs and the shoulder belt crosses the chest, but is not on the face or neck.
- Never let your child put the shoulder belt behind their arm or back. In a crash, the child could sustain major injuries including head and spinal cord injuries.
- If the child is putting the shoulder belt behind them, this is a sign that they still need a booster.
Colorado has recently enforced this change as well, so hopefully all the other states will follow. But remember, even if it isn't yet law in your state, following it is the safer thing to do to protect your kids.
What do you think of this law? Please say you will be following it.
Image via Jinx!/Flickr