New booster seat law will save lives
01-07-2009 (Dayton, OH) -
The Children's Medical Center of Dayton congratulates members of the General Assembly for passage of substitute House Bill 320, championed by Representative Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) that requires federally approved booster seats for children ages 4 to 8 and children who are under 4 feet, 9 inches in height. Gov. Ted Strickland signed the bill on January 6, 2009, making Ohio the 44th state to enact a booster seat law.
It's the law
The law will go into effect on October 7, 2009. Law enforcement will issue warnings for the first six months. Full enforcement, including citations, will begin on April 7, 2010. Fines will range from $25 to a maximum of $75 per occurrence. The Director of Health is responsible for adapting rules to establish enforcement criteria for determining compliance. The coalition will begin to focus its efforts on developing education and awareness outreach to help inform Ohio's parents and caregivers about the new law and how to comply.
Why Dayton Children's supports the bill
"Dayton Children's supports this legislation because we know as a children's hospital that booster seats can save lives," said Vicki Giambrone, vice president of marketing and external affairs at Dayton Children's. "We cannot thank our local legislators enough - including Representative Shannon Jones, Senator Steve Austria and Senator Peggy Lehner for their leadership on this issue."
"Children, 4 to 8 years-old, are too small to be protected adequately by the car's seat belt system, which is designed for an adult," said Giambrone. "We applaud our legislators for recognizing that children needed a voice on this issue."
In a recent six-year-period in Ohio, from 2002 through 2007, motor vehicle crashes killed 89 children ages 4-8 and injured more than 21,000 (21,327) in the same age group, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
"With passage of this law, Ohio can expect to see an increase in booster seat usage and a subsequent decrease in fatalities and injuries," said Giambrone. "As child advocates we will continue to educate parents about the importance of booster seats and all child restraints in protecting our child passengers."
Booster seats help protect children from injury and death in crashes by ensuring that the adult seat belt fits properly. Proper fit reduces the risk of "lap belt syndrome," which occurs when the lap belt portion of the adult seat belt rides up into a child's abdomen, potentially causing internal injuries to vital organs.
Properly restrained children is a must
Not only is the usage of a booster seat very important, but it is also important for the child to be properly restrained in a vehicle. If you need assistance with installing a car seat or booster seat, contact your local fire department or watch for local car seat checks that happen throughout the year.
Booster seat guidelines
Download our Parenting Clip or Safety Clip on "Graduating too soon: The importance of booster seats."
For more information on booster seat safety, contact Jessica Saunders, injury prevention/health coordinator at Dayton Children's, at 937-641-3385.
- Safe Kids Worldwide - Safety Tips - www.safekids.org
- American Academy of Pediatrics - Car Seat Safety - http://www.nhtsa.gov
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