We are used to laws that are simple–6 years old or 60 pounds–that was very easy to understand. It didn’t always make sense, but at least we knew whether we would be getting a ticket.
This is the new law:
- Children under age 8 must be properly buckled into a car seat or booster in the back seat.
- Children age 8 or older may use the vehicle seat belt if it fits properly with the lap belt low on the hips, touching the upper thighs, and the shoulder belt crossing the center of the chest. If children are not tall enough for proper belt fit, they must ride in a booster or car seat.
- Everyone in the car must be properly buckled up. For each child under 16 who is not properly secured, parents (if in the car) or drivers can be fined more than $475 and get a point on their driving records.
Did you know most kids need to ride in a booster seat until age 10 to 12.
The new law isn’t quite as simple, but it does make sense for the safety of our children. If you are confused, you are not alone. Here is a simple 5-Step Test to determine whether your child needs to be in a booster seat:
- Does the child sit all the way back against the auto seat?
- Do the child’s knees bend comfortably at the edge of the auto seat?
- Does the belt cross the shoulder between the neck and arm?
- Is the lap belt as low as possible, touching the thighs?
- Can the child stay seated like this for the whole trip?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, your child needs a booster seat to make both the shoulder belt and the lap belt fit right for the best crash protection. Your child will be more comfortable, too.