AAA Northwest Ohio is reminding motorists and parents about the new booster seat law that goes into effect on Oct. 7, 2009.
The new law requires motorists to safely restrain 4-8 year-olds under 4 feet, 9-inches tall in a federally approved booster seat while riding in a motor vehicle.
With children back in school, AAA reminds motorists who transport kids that car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 4-8 in Ohio.
The new law, following a six-month warning period, will begin full enforcement on April 7, 2010. It will be secondarily enforced, which means motorists can only be ticketed after being pulled over for another moving violation. The fine for a violation may not exceed $75.
From 2002 through 2006, 76 children ages 4-8 were killed in car crashes. More than 18,000 were injured during the same period, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Child booster seats are designed for children 4-8 years old and are a known lifesaver when properly used with lap shoulder belts. However, more than 60 percent of parents and caregivers still do not use booster seats.
“The best protection for children in the 4 to 8 year-old range is to place the child in the rear with a belt-positioning booster seat,” said AAA Northwest Ohio Marketing Operations Manager April Cochran.
The effectiveness of booster seats in protecting children from serious crash-related injuries is well documented, according to AAA.
Research has shown that booster seats reduced the odds of sustaining significant injuries in a crash by 59 percent of children ages 4-7 in 15 states studied.
Booster seats were especially effective in reducing injuries to the abdomen, neck, spine, back, and lower extremities.
“Parents often look to state laws for guidance in traffic safety issues,” said Cochran. “Since the launch of AAA’s child passenger safety initiative in 2002, AAA has led the effort to pass booster seat laws in 44 states.”
As part of the “Boost Ohio Kids” Coalition, AAA worked with Ohio Children’s Hospitals, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and others to gain passage of a booster seat requirement, sponsored by Rep. Shannon Jones, (R-Springboro).