Do you think that once your children are old enough to attend the second grade, their booster seat days are over? If you live in California, you might need to think again. Among the new laws signed into law for 2012 by Gov. Jerry Brown is a new law intending to make riding in a car safer for children by requiring many six and seven-year-olds to sit in booster seats.The recently enacted law requires children to stay in booster seats until they are eight years old or at least four feet nine inches tall. The previous law required kids to sit in booster seats until they were six years of age or weighed 60 pounds.Booster Seats Save LivesMedical experts and child safety advocates are strongly in favor of the new law, saying that since traditional seat belts are designed for adults. When a child is involved in a motor vehicle accident, seat belts can injure the child because it is easy for the child to wear the seat belt improperly.Seat belts are supposed to sit low on passenger’s hips, touching the upper thighs, with the shoulder belt crossing the chest without touching the face or neck. If a seat belt sits is too high on a child’s abdomen, a collision can cause serious injury to the child’s bowels, bladder and spine. For children in particular, spinal cord injuries caused by a vehicle accident can have a devastating impact.Booster seats correct this problem by raising the child in the seat, aligning the seat belt with the pelvic bones, making the child’s body better able to withstand collision forces.Car accidents are the leading cause of death and brain injury to children between ages 4 and 8. According to the California Department of Public Health, car accidents killed 113 children between ages 6 and 7 and caused 414 brain injuries.
Booster seat advocates say that booster seats lower the risk of death and injury by 60 percent and increase a child’s survival rate of a crash by 45 percent.
Under the new law, police can pull over any person that they reasonably suspect is violating the booster law. The penalty for failing to comply with the law is a minimum fine of $475 and a violation point for each child not properly secured in a booster seat.
If your child or another loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to speak to an experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney before you agree to any settlements. A strong attorney can help by fighting for you to get the compensation you need and deserve.